Sunday January 20, 2013
PTPTN in the shadow of apathy, bureaucracy
SUNDAY STAR SAYS
WHEN the government first announced that PTPTN borrowers who obtained first-class degrees would have their loans converted into full scholarships, it was an unexpected bonus for these top graduates.
One has to consider that at that time, and even till today, the PTPTN was struggling with the bigger problem of thousands of borrowers defaulting on payment.
But it was a good and necessary move and showed that the government was prepared to give full financial support to PTPTN borrowers who excelled in their studies even though the loan scheme is based more on needs than merit.
Up to Nov 30 last year, a total of 18,098 graduates had already converted their loans, amounting to RM503.34mil, into full scholarships. Surprisingly, there are still nearly 4,000 eligible candidates who have yet to do so.
PTPTN chairman Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said is concerned and has urged the graduates to do so before the June 30 deadline.
What is the reason for this delay? Could it be apathy on the part of the graduates? Or could it be the bureaucratic maze that confronts applicants?
There have been various articles and letters to the editor, about the problems faced by borrowers in dealing with the PTPTN.
One borrower, who obtained his first class degree, recently wrote to this newspaper to highlight the runaround he was put through, with no solution in sight even after more than six months.
We need to be mindful that there are times when clear-cut policy intentions from the top are not necessarily translated into clear-cut actions at the ground level.
If that be the case, the chairman must ensure that the PTPTN staff do their part to smoothen the delivery system.
But we also cannot discount the possibility that these borrowers are just not bothered to do the necessary to get this benefit.
The PTPTN has come up with innovative schemes, like the 20% discount offer for those who settle their loans in full, and a 10% discount for those who faithfully keep to their payment schedule.
Yet, they are not even confident of 100% compliance and have set a target of only 70% to get the delinquents to pay up.
Such apathy is not uncommon and there must be more effort put in, on the part of all stakeholders, to sieve out these young people who do not seem to care.
Even if they are first-class degree holders.