Discounting PTPTN

Loan (Photo credit: Philip Taylor PT)

According to the recently tabled government budget for 2013, amongst the many goodies given out to the young adults is a gem – the discounts being given on PTPTN loans.

PTPTN study loans became a sticking point this year when some groups asked for the writing off of all PTPTN loans and the dismantling of a system that was accused with pushing fresh graduates onto the downward debt spiral. This ensured that the PTPTN issue would become a hot election issue in the coming GE13.

However, I have to tip my hat off to the government for how they chose to handle the issue.

The government announced a one-time 20% discount for those who are able to repay their loans in a lump sum payment and a 10% discount for those who are paying off their loans regularly. When I heard it announced on TV last week, I was shocked by the brazenness of it all.

In one fell swoop, the government ensured that it would collect on a sizeable amount of revenues next year. This much needed income was important as the government was handing out election goodies to almost every segment of the electorate except me. Someone had to pay for it all and PTPTN loans were one way to do it.

According to various numbers, the amount of outstanding PTPTN loans were between RM30-RM48 billion in total. If only a fraction of these people decided to take up the 20% discount to repay their debts in full, we’re talking about collecting billions in revenues next year.

Unfortunately, in the same step, the government has ensured that problems that plague PTPTN in collecting on its loans will continue. Malaysians now know that when the government needs money, they will dole out discounts on everything from traffic summons to student debt. Therefore, there is absolutely no incentive to pay up loans nor debts to the government.

On the other hand, the rakyat are now given the incentive to wait – for Mega Sales! PTPTN defaulters everywhere should learn a lesson from this – to never repay your loans and to force the government to beg for money. This is the wrong message to send. PTPTN can forget about ever collecting any debt again.

What kind of nation are we building up – where one can borrow money from the government, and expect to get huge discounts when the government is in need of cash – a nation of law breakers and free loaders. Personally, I think that this move thoroughly stinks of irresponsible government.

Our PM even had the cheek to comment on the PR’s suggestion to cancel all PTPTN debts. To me, that’s essentially the pot calling the kettle black. Neither action is a responsible one and gives people the incentive to refuse to pay back debts.

Debts must be repaid – in full, and on time!

Mansuh PTPTN

I’ll get straight to the point – I cannot possibly support the movement to abolish PTPTN.

The reason is simple enough, nobody forced these people to take a low interest rate education loan. Seriously. I feel that these people are a bunch of losers who are just trying to get out of their obligations to repay the loan. What’s worse is that if they had bothered to study hard and do well, they would have been given a free pass anyway.

So, these are a bunch of students who are unwilling to work for their studies and who want to get away with a free lunch. It just sickens me.

They are a bunch of selfish bozos who would rather saddle the rest of the country with more debt than to actually do the honourable thing and to repay their own debt. I personally know of many PTPTN receipients who have still not paid a sen of their debts even after working for many years. I try to counsel them to do so but they don’t feel the necessity to.

However, I made sure that my staff did not fall into this category. I made it very clear to them that they have to repay their PTPTN loans. I pay them well enough that they have no excuse not to repay the loan. It is a sad reflection on the character of a person if they do not repay their debts. I would not want to hire such people.

I too, am currently repaying my student loan. Incidentally, it’s about an order of magnitude more than the typical PTPTN loan. While it is extremely painful and stressful to pay it off, I am meeting my obligations on time and making damn well sure that I do not fall behind. It gets difficult at times but I am not going to owe anyone anything in life.

As for the argument for a free education, there is no such thing. Someone needs to pay for it. The argument that tertiary education needs to be free is hard to justify. Everyone already has free education up to the secondary level, which is more than enough to find work and live in this world. Nobody owes anyone advanced education.

If we make education free, someone still has to pay for it – the taxpayer.

I can support it if these students were fighting for better education e.g. better curriculum, better faculty, better experiences, etc. That would make perfect sense as they are merely demanding for better value for money – not to get free of their obligations. However, this is something that sickens me.

Our young are fast becoming too entitled – they feel that the world owes them a living. The fact is that, nobody does. The sooner they understand that, the sooner they will learn to work for things. A good life doesn’t come cheap and most definitely not without sacrifice.