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PTPTN asks EPF and taxman to share borrowers’ info

The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) has asked the Employees Provident Fund and Inland Revenue Board for assistance on borrowers’ details and data.

PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan said the cooperation would not only help PTPTN to speed up its policy-making process, but would also enable the corporation to verify the information provided by borrowers at the same time.
The information comprises the borrower’s occupation, salary, phone number and e-mail address.

“We also urge all PTPTN borrowers who have accrued an outstanding balance after the one-year grace period to update their personal information, or it will be understood that they do not wish to delay their repayment.

“If it is not done within the stipulated time, we will assume that they don’t wish to delay the repayment of their loans and they will not be included in new policies with regards to the matter,” he told reporters here yesterday.
Borrowers have until July 25 to do so.

Wan Saiful said the information would help PTPTN identify those who earn less than RM4,000.

As part of its GE14 manifesto, the Pakatan Harapan government has pledged to allow fresh graduates who earn less than RM4,000 to delay settling their loans.

However, Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik announced last month that borrowers who fall within this income group will have to continue paying their loans for now until the Government has worked out a way to fulfil its manifesto pledge.

Wan Saiful said PTPTN was facing difficulty in obtaining income details due to the Personal Data Protection Act 2010.

“We have sent a request to the agencies and the Finance Minister to assist us with this information,” he added.
Meanwhile, Amellia Ong, 25, described PTPTN’s call to update borrower’s personal information as a “fair policy”.

“It will help the Government identity applicants who may not be able to repay their loans and are genuinely interested in deferring it.

“I also think it’s fair because with PTPTN’s action of removing defaulters from being blacklisted, they are providing borrowers with an avenue which allows those who earn less than RM4,000 to update their information if they are keen to defer their repayment,” said Ong, who is a Certificate in Legal Practice student.

Advertising executive Jesslyn Tan said the decision would ensure only those earning below RM4,000 are exempted from immediately repaying their loans.

She added that providing the information requested by PTPTN is a justifiable action, even if it has to be completed within the next nine days.

“It is not that hard to update your personal information and this is all a matter of priority,” she said.

Borrowers can update their information on the corporation’s official portal, www.ptptn.gov.my, under Pengemaskinian Maklumat Pendapat.

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‘Blacklist status check’ kiosks to be placed in KLIA

Almost 800,000 Malaysians are blacklisted and barred from leaving the country.

Three kiosks have been installed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to allow Malaysians to check whether they have been barred from travelling before they get to Immigration control.

“We have launched these kiosks so that those who want to check their immigration status can do so with ease,” Immigration Department director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali told a press conference at KLIA yesterday.

These kiosks are part of the department’s value-added service to the public.

“We don’t want passengers to find out that they will be stuck at Immigration counters (at passport control).

“Since the kiosks are positioned outside, they can check first. If they are on the blacklist, they can call (the relevant agency blacklisting them) and resolve the issue,” he said.

Mustafar hopes that the kiosks, which are offered through a public-private partnership with Datasonic Group Bhd, will ease congestion at Immigration counters caused by travellers who find out at the last minute that they are barred from leaving the country.

“There are 790,186 Malaysians who have been blacklisted.

“This means if any of them try to go through passport control, they will be stopped,” he said, adding that so far, most were blacklisted because of a failure to repay National Higher Education Fund Corporation loans.

The kiosks are placed at a high-visibility area so that travellers can spot them easily.

The department is also talking to Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd to introduce the kiosks at KLIA2 as well as other airports in the country.

“For KLIA2, we estimate that the kiosks will be ready in a month,” he said.

With enough funds, the department also intends to introduce the kiosks at other entry and exit points such as Bukit Kayu Hitam in Kedah and the Sultan Iskandar Building in Johor.

Mustafar said that as of yesterday afternoon, about 200 people tried out the selfcheck kiosks.

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410,500 owe PTPTN RM6.84bil

A total of 410,500 borrowers owe the National Higher Education Fund Corporation ( PTPTN) RM6.84bil in loans, says the Higher Education Ministry.

It said that the sum involved a total of RM2.84bil from borrowers who had never paid a single sen to PTPTN since the programme was introduced in 1997.

The remaining RM4.05bil was arrears from borrowers who are paying up their dues but less than the agreed instalment amount, the ministry told Er Teck Hwa (DAPBakri) in a written reply.

According to the ministry, RM2.44bil was owed by 355,272 bumiputra students, while RM350mil was owed by 55,228 non-bumiputra students.

A total of 1,900,743 students have graduated from public universities since PTPTN was introduced in 1997.

If the loan repayments were carried out properly, the PTPTN should have collected RM18.97bil in loan repayments.

However, only RM12.13bil was collected as stated by the Ministry on Sept 30, 2017.

From the sum, RM6.55bil was collected from 970,330 bumiputra borrowers, while RM5.58bil was collected from 519,913 non-bumiputra borrowers.

In Budget 2018, the Government is extending discounts for repayment of PTPTN loans until Dec 31, 2018.

Loan borrowers will receive a 20% rebate on the outstanding debt for a full settlement; 10% for repayment of at least 50% on the outstanding debt made in a single payment; and 10% for repayment through salary deductions or scheduled direct debit.

Those intending to pursue their studies to a higher level, for example from diploma to undergraduate, may combine both loans into a single loan and repay upon completion of their studies.

The grace period for loan repayment was extended to 12 months upon completion of study, as compared to the six months period currently.

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New facility to help 80,000 PTPTN borrowers

Some 80,000 borrowers are set to benefit from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation’s (PTPTN) new “overlapping” facility.

Existing borrowers who apply for a second PTPTN loan won’t be listed in Bank Negara’s Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), nor will they be banned from travelling overseas.

The “overlapping” facility, which benefited 32,213 borrowers, was introduced on April 6 last year, said PTPTN chairman Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.

“For example, a student who owes RM15,000 for his diploma, now applies for RM21,000 for his degree.

“So, the new total owed is RM36,000. This lump sum will only be due six months after he graduates with a degree.

“His name will not be listed in CCRIS and he won’t be blacklisted by the Immigration Department,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

From Aug 15 this year, some 45,866 borrowers who applied for a second loan before the “overlapping” facility was introduced will also benefit from the policy.

He said this was part of PTPTN’s efforts to help borrowers who wanted to continue studying but were unable to settle their first loan.

He, however, said a total of 545 borrowers had yet to benefit from the “overlapping” facility.

This was because they were still under the conventional financing scheme.

These borrowers must convert their scheme to the syariah-based ujrah scheme to enjoy the new facility. They can do so by calling Careline PTPTN (03-2193 3000).

Dr Shamsul said PTPTN had collected half of the amount targeted for 2017.

“We’ve collected RM2bil and are confident of meeting our RM4bil target for the year.”

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PTPTN borrowers just refuse to repay loan: Idris

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh disclosed that many National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) borrowers who are now earning a steady income chose not to repay their debts despite having the financial ability to do so.

He said a Bank Negara survey showed that some of the borrowers who refused to repay their PTPTN loans were actually able to settle their car and housing loans.

“Bank Negara officials met up with me to show the findings of the survey they conducted. It reveals that people who had not paid their PTPTN loans are able to pay for their car and housing loans as well as credit cards.

“This is happening because they just refuse to do so … not that they can’t afford it,” he said at the Students Parliament training and debate simulation programme here yesterday.

He said this in reply to the participants’ queries if it was justified for Bank Negara to blacklist PTPTN borrowers. Idris said PTPTN should act firmly against those who have defaulted on the loan without jeopardising their future.

–Bernama

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EPF withdrawal to repay study loans

Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors will be able to settle outstanding study loans from July 21 with their Account II under the Education Withdrawal Facility, regardless of the effective date of their education loan agreements.

EPF deputy CEO (operations) Datuk Mohd Naim Daruwish said they arrived at the decision after taking members’ feedback into consideration.

The change replaces the current conditions for Education Withdrawals from Account II for three categories of higher learning: Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher for members’ children from April 1, 2000; diploma or equivalent or higher for members’ children from Jan 2, 2001; and diploma for members’ children from Jan 17, 2006.

“The EPF serves to create a positive member experience and we always strive to improve all areas that we can while delivering our mandate,” he said in a statement yesterday.

“It (the new move) is expected to benefit up to 70,000 members who have yet to repay their education loans.”

The withdrawal scheme allows EPF members to make withdrawals from Account II to pay tuition fees for their children or for themselves to pursue further studies at any local or overseas higher educational institution.

On his Facebook page, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak noted that the public should make full use of the option as it has been made easier to settle their education debts, and hoped that the facility would be well utilised.

It was reported on April 1 last year that the option of repaying education loans from Account II would be conducted via online withdrawals.

Prior to the option of online withdrawals, borrowers had to take out their savings by filling up forms at EPF offices.

On another matter, EPF said that with immediate effect, members could submit their withdrawal application form 9B (AHL) for age 50 withdrawals, age 55 and age 60 full or partial withdrawals only a month prior to their date of birth instead of the six months previously.

“Before members make any withdrawals, we encourage them to visit our retirement advisory services located in 18 branches throughout Malaysia to receive free advice on the best withdrawal option that fits their needs,” said Mohd Naim.

Further information on the changes in withdrawal policies may be obtained from the EPF Contact Management Centre at 03-8922 6000; or visiting www.kwsp.gov.my or any EPF branch nationwide.

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10% discount on your PTPTN loan

National Higher Education Fund Corporation borrowers can now apply for and make loan repayments via direct debit arrangements with 17 banks.

PTPTN chairman Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said borrowers would also be entitled to a 10% discount should they adopt this method of repayment.

At a press conference here yesterday, he said even though direct debit was available since last November through a partnership with Bank Islam and MyClear, the application process was tedious.

“Back then, borrowers had to come to our counters to complete the application for direct debit, and even a minor mistake could cause the application to be rejected,” said Shamsul, who added that online application was faster and took only three working days to process.

Shamsul said depositors of the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN-i) could also use direct debit to increase their savings.

PTPTN chief executive officer Wan Ahmad Wan Yusoff advised borrowers who wanted to make deductions for the current period to apply for their accounts to be debited before the 20th day of the month.

“Otherwise, deductions will take place on the 10th of the following month,” he said.

Wan Ahmad pointed out that 52,000 or 1.4% of borrowers opted to repay through direct debit since April 18, while 41% still preferred to make over-the-counter repayments.

Shamsul Anuar said PTPTN was targetting a collection of RM4bil this year, on the back of RM49.8bil in total disbursements to date.

“As of April 30, as many as 32,003 borrowers have enjoyed the 10% discount for repaying through direct debit, which involved a total repayment of RM19.49mil, with discounts totalling RM1.95mil.

“Through this upgrade, PTPTN is hoping to reduce over-the-counter repayments, which will in turn increase repayments through direct debit by 10%,” he added.

In his Budget 2017 speech, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that a 15% discount would be given to those who paid the outstanding amount all at once.

Those who pay off at least 50% of the loan in one lump sum would get a 10% discount on the amount paid.

The offer for discount would be valid until December, and was open to all 1.97 million PTPTN borrowers.

Source: The Star (7June 2017)

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App to verify halal products

All users need to do is scan barcode to check status of goods

It will be much harder for unscrupulous parties to pass off non-halal products as halal, with the launch of a smartphone app called Verify Halal.

The app is now available on the Google Playstore for Android users while iOS users have to wait two more months for its release.

Developed by local company Serunai Commerce in cooperation with the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), it is simple to use.

All the users have to do is scan the product barcode with their smartphone and the app will verify whether or not it is halal.

Serunai Commerce CEO Amnah Shaari said more than 6,000 local companies are linked to the app, as well as 60 affiliated global certification bodies.

“This means we will be connected to hundreds of thousands of companies worldwide,” said Amnah who is also the founder of the Verify Halal app.

“If our users detect dubious products, they can report it to us and we will pass the information to Jakim for further action,” she said at the launch of the app by Jakim’s Halal Hub director Datuk Dr Sirajuddin Suhaimee here yesterday.

“We will be expanding the platform to enhance verification for small retailers. Serunai will continue to help evolve the trading architecture of the global halal market,” she said.

In his speech, Dr Sirajuddin said it was imperative for the growth of the halal economy that it was not hampered by dubious certification and the spread of unverified news.

“It is important for Muslims not only in Malaysia but the world over to have a peace of mind as well as the ability to instantly verify the integrity of halal products,” he said.

He added that Verify Halal was not only directly connected to Jakim, but also to numerous other global certification bodies that it recognised.

Amnah said participating companies need to pay an annual fee of RM500 to be listed as halal food or product suppliers in the app.

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KL folk can now report lost MyKad or passports online

City folk here who want to lodge police reports for non-criminal cases such as lost identity cards or passports can do so online now.

The Online Police Reporting System, which is available at https://ereporting.rmp.gov.my, means complainants no longer have to go to the police station to make a report.

E-reporting is open for Malaysians aged 18 and above.

“In 2015 and 2016, 80% to 90% of reports lodged in Kuala Lumpur involved people losing their IC or passports, misplacing handphones, and runaway maids,” said City police chief Comm Datuk Amar Singh.

E-reporting, he said, would make the process easier for these people.

The system initially started out as a pilot programme at the Taman Tun Dr Ismail police station, he said.

“There was positive response, so we decided to expand it to the whole contingent in Kuala Lumpur.

“Perhaps in the future, it will be open for the whole country,” he said.

Besides e-reporting, there is also the Online Checking System at http://sso.rmp.gov.my, which allows people who have lodged police reports to check the progress of their case.

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242k applications for voter registration in Q1 this year: EC

The Election Commission (EC) received a total of 242,691 applications for voter registration, and 84,214 requests for change of registration address in the first quarter of this year, EC secretary Datuk Abdul Ghani Salleh said yesterday.

In accordance with Rule 13 of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, the Supplementary Electoral Rolls for Quarter 1 of 2017 will be on display for 14 days from today to May 22 at 960 locations nationwide, he said.

“During this period, people who have either applied to register as new voters or to change their registration address, in January, February and March 2017, are advised to check the rolls,” he said in a statement.

Public can check voter status here—-> Check Voter Information / Status

He said new voters who do not find their names on the rolls can make a claim using Form B, which is to be submitted to the registrar (state election director) in their respective areas, during office hours on weekdays, during the display period.

Abdul Ghani added that registered voters in any constituency who wish to object to the inclusion of the name of any person in a constituency can do so by completing Form C. “The objection can only be made against not more than 20 persons in accordance with sub-regulation 15(3) of the Elections (Registration of Electors) Regulations 2002, and sent to the registrar (state EC director) for the registration area, during office hours and within the period of the display,” he said.

During the display period, the EC will also list the names of voters who will be removed from the electoral roll.

“The EC will remove the names of voters found to be ineligible to remain as registered voters for reasons such as death or loss of citizenship,” he said. — BERNAMA