Under fire, minister calls off controversial PTPTN wage garnishment

Justin Ong


Wan Saiful had announced the scheme on Wednesday and said it would begin in 2019 or less than a month away. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Education Minister Maszlee Malik has overruled National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan’s proposal to garnish the wages of student loan borrowers.

Wan Saiful announced the scheme on Wednesday and said it would begin in 2019 or less than a month away.

Today, Maszlee said this will not proceed.

“The ICLR PTPTN repayment scheme will be suspended for the time being until we receive the collective inputs and feedback from all stakeholders,” he said on Twitter.

The wage garnishment scheme drew swift criticism from both sides of the political divide as well as from employers and employees, with unions and Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran pointing out that there was no law to compel firms to facilitate the wage garnishment.

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said the proposal was complicated and burdensome while the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said the move would be unlawful without express consent from the borrowers.

Existing PTPTN borrowers, who said they have been repaying regularly, called the move unfair as it would sharply raise their monthly commitments.

The scheme proposes to directly deduct the wages of borrowers earning above RM2,000 monthly at rates of between 2 and 15 per cent depending on their income levels.

Yesterday, Wan Saiful insisted that the agreements borrowers signed with PTPTN gave his agency the authority to pursue repayment through any means necessary.

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