The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) says that it is always open for negotiations with borrowers with difficulties in making repayments, which include negotiations for restructuring of loans, opening the state and branch PTPTN offices, operating on weekends and after office hours for some branch offices and providing online payment services.
When saying the above, PTPTN must ensure that there are officers who would actually pick up the phone instead of blindly making claims.
Several weeks back, I tried calling the PTPTN officer to enquire on how to make repayment via the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) but no one picked up my call.
After calling at least 10 numbers or more, I decided to call the Kuala Lumpur branch general manager to enquire about the repayment process.
The general manager promised to follow-up with the matter where her staff returned the call an hour later.
The officer immediately suggested for me to opt to withdraw from my EPF savings.
It sounded very much like a desperate call to get borrowers to pay up, but it also meant ignoring other options that were available to avoid a borrower from losing out on EPF investment dividends.
Whatever happened to supposed negotiations,to reduce monthly repayments, advice on salary deduction or revising the existing loan terms to the Ujrah format where selected borrowers have been offered this option?
There are still many out there who have no knowledge about Ujrah or salary deduction. For certain cases, employers “refuse” to acknowledge this repayment option not wanting to deal with PTPTN direct.
The officer who returned my call said that she would call the next day to follow up on my decision, but she never did. I resorted to call her office, no one picked up, not even her staff.
Various attempts to call her or her staff failed.
I then decided to send an e-mail to request for their immediate action. Bear in mind that all e-mails from PTPTN are in Bahasa Malaysia (BM), which means anyone who wants to have an ‘effective’ communication with PTPTN officers would need to converse or write an e-mail in BM.
Only by Thursday evening PTPTN returned my call, and told me to collect a letter of confirmation if I do decide to opt for an EPF withdrawal.
Without the letter, the officer said that EPF will not recoginse the request for withdrawal.
I was also told that I had to prepare the initial PTPTN loan contract, graduation scroll and examination transcript – otherwise EPF would not entertain the request to make payment via EPF withdrawal.
These specifications were not listed on neither the PTPTN or EPF website. Both websites has only specified to apply online. Sounds easy? Not really, for many may have studied out of town and work in the capital.
I was only informed regarding the documents when I was making my way to the PTPTN headquarters and on the same day found out that there is an ‘expiry’ date on the PTPTN confirmation letter for EPF withdrawal request.
I also inquired about other methods of payment, aside from EPF, to which there was no response.
The PTPTN statement on tthe various methods one is able to pay back their loans was issued following the statement by Higher Educatilon Minister Idris Jusoh reminding the organisation not to prosecute any borrowers when collecting their loan repayments.
But by listing borrowers in the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), PTPTN seems to be issuing a blanket listing across all borrowers, prosecuting even those who are abiding by loan terms and making it difficult for them to get any car or housing loans to get on with their life while paying up, for the ban is regardless of whether the borrower is in the midst of repaying his or her loan dues.
Soo Wern Jun@The Heat Malaysia Online