Published: Wednesday May 23, 2012 MYT 2:14:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday May 23, 2012 MYT 2:15:34 PM
More than 12,500 PTPTN loans converted to scholarships
By TEH ENG HOCK
SHAH ALAM: Some 12,529 students who borrowed money from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) have had their study loans converted into scholarships.
PTPTN chairman Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said said they were exempted from repaying their loans as they had obtained first class honours in their Bachelor's Degree.
"As at April 30 this year, 12,529 graduates have been exempted (since PTPTN was set up in 1997). This involves RM359.26mil," he said in his speech before handing out cash advance to loan applicants at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) here Wednesday.
"So whether the students want to repay the loan or not, it is up to them. If you don't want to pay back, make sure you excel in your studies," he said.
Ismail said PTPTN had helped 1.9 million students since its inception in 1997, which was supported by the Opposition then.
"(DAP adviser) Lim Kit Siang said RM100mil was not enough (for the fund) and asked for RM500mil. (DAP secretary-general) Lim Guan Eng said RM500mil wasn't enough, saying it needed RM1bil.
"But now that the general election is near, they want to abolish PTPTN to get votes. This is cheap politics," he said.
Sepang MP Datuk Seri Mohd Zin Mohamed, who launched the event, urged the students to act responsibly and repay their loans to ensure the fund would serve future generations.
As at April 30, 763,488 out of 1,053,037 applicants have been repaying their loans, he said.
"That means RM3.24bil of the RM6.96bil have been repaid," he said, adding that 26,119 people have been blacklisted to date.
Mohd Zin said the government was prepared to give free education, on condition the students excelled in their studies.
"It is an incentive. We have placed the carrot. You have to work for it," he said.