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Malaysians can check bankruptcy status via smartphone, thanks to MyDI

Starting next week it will take just a few touches on the smartphone to check whether one is a bankrupt, as continuous efforts are made to ease the public’s dealings with government offices.

The MyDI application, to be available from May 11, is one of the many transformation measures involving the Insolvency Department that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said has set her mind on.

The application, said the minister, will be useful, especially for those who want to know if they have been listed as a bankrupt.

“This facility will also be useful for those who wish to do a background check on their prospective employees. In fact, a father can also use the application to check if his future son­in­law is a bankrupt,” she quipped.

Speaking at the launch of the MyDI application, Azalina said the next step would be to ease the process of being discharged as a bankrupt by getting the person to fill in his application via online.

“For this procedure to be done fast, we need to shift some of the administrative ‘burden’ to the bankrupt by having all the forms filled before they meet with an officer from the department. This will significantly cut the processing time as well as red tape,” she added.

A roadshow will be held nationwide to educate the public not only on the services provided by the department but also the recent changes made to the Bankruptcy Act 2016, especially to prevent those who act as social guarantors being declared bankrupt if borrowers fail to repay their debts.

Social guarantors are defined as those who do not profit and essentially provide a guarantee for an education loan, hire­purchase transactions for personal or non­business use, or a housing loan for personal dwellings.

“We need to help those who act as social guarantors as they can’t be made responsible if the person does not pay up their study loan.

“Also, by providing automatic discharge for a person declared bankrupt three years after declaration and upon filing the statement of affairs, we are helping these people to start afresh,” said Azalina.

Existing law allows a bankrupt to apply for a court discharge only if five years have lapsed from the date the bankruptcy order was made and that, too, is subject to the creditor’s appeal.

As of February, the Insolvency Department was administrating 292,086 cases of bankruptcy.

Azalina said amendments to the Act, which took just about one year from draft to being passed by the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, became a factor that brought together politicians from both divides.

“The Government received support from the Opposition when the amendments were tabled and debated,” she noted.

The amended Act is expected to be enforced in June.

Source: The Star (03 May 2017)

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PTPTN uses CCRIS to ensure that loan takers settle their dues accordingly

It’s an acronym that loan takers of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) should be aware of.

CCRIS, or the Central Credit Reference Information System, has a list of their names to ensure that these borrowers repay their loans accordingly.

“If they are good paymasters, borrowers will have a good record (in the CCRIS). They will have no problem when they apply for new loans.

“Their names will be taken off the list once they have fully settled their PTPTN loans,” PTPTN deputy CEO (Policy and Operations) Mastura Mohd Khalid said.

CCRIS is a database used by financial institutions to evaluate those who apply for loans.

She said all PTPTN borrowers would be listed in the CCRIS once it is time for them to start paying back, which is six months after graduation.

Mastura said PTPTN started to use CCRIS in June 2015.

When a borrower accumulates more than 12 months of PTPTN arrears, she said their names would be sent to the Immigration Department which would bar them from leaving the country.

“Having your name on the CCRIS does not amount to a ‘punishment’. Instead, it is a tool that ensures borrowers are disciplined in repaying their loans,” Mastura said.

PTPTN has provided various means to make it more convenient for borrowers to settle their loans.

On April 1 last year, the corporation announced the option of repaying the loans through online withdrawals of the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Account II.

Of the RM680mil PTPTN collected in January and February, repayment through this option made up 12.9% or RM87.94mil.

Mastura said this was done in 48,911 transactions.

Currently, the amount of arrears owed to PTPTN is about RM7.8bil.

“I believe borrowers would choose to repay their loans through their EPF Account II to clear the arrears before they restructure their loan to ensure they have a clean record in the CCRIS,” she said.

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

In a statement on Friday, PTPTN chairman Datuk Dr Shamsul Anuar Nasarah said: “There is indeed a significant increase in the amount of repayment received through borrowers’ EPF account II in October, November and December 2016.

“This came up to more than RM100mil each month.

“Overall, from RM3.4bil in repayments received last year, only 32% of it was repaid through borrowers’ EPF Account II.”

Shamsul’s comments was in reference to EPF’s 2016 annual report, which stated that withdrawals for “education” was at RM1.4bil last year, up 152% from RM578mil previously.

EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said much of the increase was due to the settlement of education debts, adding that he was watching this trend closely.

“A lot of the increase primarily has been for the settlement of education debts.

“This is because of PTPTN’s big push to get their borrowers to pay up,” Shahril said at a briefing on Thursday.

Source – The Star (24 April 2017)

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JPJ issues 13,096 traffic summonses in just five days after Awas launch

It’s full speed ahead, literally, for Malaysian drivers under a newly launched system to nab traffic offenders, with 11,556 summonses being issued for speeding.

Awas – a combination of the Automated Enforcement System (AES) and traffic offence demerit system (Kejara) – began last Saturday to nab those who speed or beat a red light.

Within five days of its launch, the Road Transport Department (JPJ) has issued 13,096 traffic summonses; 11,556 for speeding and 1,540 for beating the red light.

Awas, which is aimed at reducing the number of road accidents and deaths, will “award” demerit points to offenders.

They will be given incremental penalties for every 20 points picked up, which range from a warning to having their licences suspended.

Fourteen surveillance cameras have been installed nationwide to record the recalcitrant ones.

Ten cameras are on highways, with two more at traffic lights in Jalan Ipoh and Jalan Klang Lama, and another two at traffic lights in Putrajaya.

Bernama quoted Saripuddin as saying that the ministry would increase the number of cameras eventually.

“Road users need to give their cooperation. This is important for the safety of road users and not just to avoid demerit points,” he said.

Inspector­General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said Bukit Aman would discuss soon with JPJ on the possibility of integrating Awas with the traffic police system.

And it was reported yesterday that JPJ wanted Awas to be linked to the traffic police for more comprehensive enforcement.

Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research director­general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon was supportive of the plan to integrate Awas with the traffic police.

Otherwise, it was not viable for both the JPJ and police to process the same traffic violations with different punishments, he said.

“A person who gets a JPJ summons will be penalised differently from those with a police summons,” he said, noting that offenders under JPJ would get a fine and a demerit point, while those who get a police summons would pay just a fine.

Traffic offenders might not take their summonses seriously if they were not slapped with demerit points, he added.

“If only one type of summons involves the Kejara demerit system, the summons without demerit points may not be taken seriously enough by traffic offenders,” he said.

Dr Wong urged the police and JPJ to find ways to incorporate the two systems to avoid this situation.

To ensure the effectiveness of Awas, he suggested its enforcement must be “sure, swift and severe”.

“Awas already has the ‘sure’ factor because it can provide strong evidence of traffic offences. But it must also be ‘swift’ where summonses are issued as soon as possible.”

The “severe” factor would refer to the seriousness of the consequences to those who violate traffic laws, he added.

However, Dr Wong said Awas should not be seen as punishing offenders.

“Authorities are looking to change the behaviour of road users. There is only so much advising and educating people that can be done before penalties have to be put in place.

Source – The Star (24 April 2017)

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EPF reports rising number of withdrawals to settle PTPTN loans

There has been a huge jump in the number of transactions and amount of money that Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) members withdrew to pay off their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans.

According to the EPF’s 2016 Annual Report, withdrawals for “Education” was at RM1.4bil in 86,725 transactions last year, up 152.42% from RM578.18mil in 65,787 transactions previously.

EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said much of the increase was mainly due to the settlement of education debts, adding that he was watching this trend closely.

“A lot of the increase primarily has been for the settlement of education debts. It is because of PTPTN’s big push to get their borrowers to pay up,” Shahril said at the report briefing here yesterday.

“Previously, the education segment was a smaller part of our withdrawals but it is now a larger amount,” he said, adding that the bulk of withdrawals are still for retirement at 55 years.

“That’s because PTPTN started blacklisting people so that they would settle their debts,” said Shahril.

Asked if it was healthy to take funds meant for retirement to pay off education debts, he said: “This is a different issue but from a national standpoint, if you don’t repay your student loans, it is going to be very hard for a new generation of students to borrow money.

“From a social policy point of view, it is important to collect outstanding PTPTN debts so this can be self sustaining.”

Overall, the report showed that withdrawals have been on the uptrend since 2014, rising by some 30% to RM44bil in 2015 and by another 5.8% to RM46.57bil last year.

Shahril said members should try their best to keep their savings in the EPF to benefit from the principle of compounding returns.

Besides paying off PTPTN debts and retirement, EPF members can, among others, withdraw to buy their first home and when they leave the country.

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PTPTN may set up airport counters for defaulters barred from leaving country

The public has requested that the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) sets up counters at airports in the country to help prevent borrowers being barred from leaving the country for unsettled loans.

PTPTN chief executive officer Wan Ahmad Wan Yusoff said the PTPTN counters would assist borrowers who discover that they have been barred from travelling abroad at the last minute.

“They want to be able to negotiate with PTPTN and make payments on the spot.

“PTPTN is seriously considering the suggestion, as it a step towards ensuring that borrowers make their repayments on time,” he said

However, he also noted that it is ultimately the borrower’s responsibility to maintain their loan payments.

“On our side, we need to consider all options that will enable us to collect loan payments so that other students can also borrow from PTPTN.

“PTPTN has loaned out approximately RM47 billion to 2.25 million students to date, disbursing about RM5 billion a year,” he told reporters after attending the National Conference on Lifelong Learning (LLL) 2016 today.

The conference was organised by the Ministry of Higher Education in collaboration with University of Malaya Centre for Continuing Education (UMCCed).

Wan Ahmad said PTPTN had started discussions with relevant authorities to get their consent on the suggestion.

He said there have been many cases where borrowers had their overseas travel plans ruined, as PTPTN notifies the Immigration Department to stop defaulters from leaving the country.

PTPTN borrowers are advised to check their account status online at least seven days before they travel abroad, during which they can settle matters with PTPTN should they find themselves on the PTPTN blacklist.

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‘Study loan defaulters put on CCRIS to ensure repayment’

Some 1,574,700 borrowers who failed to repay their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans, totalling RM32.07bil, have been listed in the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS).

Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Dr Mary Yap Kain Ching said CCRIS was not a mechanism for PTPTN to blacklist hardcore defaulters as claimed by certain quarters.

“The record in CCRIS serves as the best practice for all financial institutions to ensure that the borrowers repay (their) loans accordingly,” she said at the Dewan Negara sitting yesterday.

She was replying to a question by Senator Datuk Ng Chiang Chin on the discount offered in the 2017 Budget and the latest number of loans given out by PTPTN.

Yap also said that PTPTN had issued loans to 2.6 million borrowers until the end of their studies, involving an allocation of RM59.67bil as of last month.

“PTPTN has collected RM10.07bil from 1.2 million borrowers compared to RM18.84bil which was supposed to be collected from 1.9 million borrowers during the corresponding period,” she added.

– Bernama

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Pay early if you want to pay less, traffic offenders told

Bukit Aman has urged motorists to settle their summonses early to avoid paying the maximum amount. Bukit Aman Traffic Investigation and Enforcement director SAC Datuk Mahamad Akhir Darus said they recently introduced the concept “the later you pay, the more you pay”.

“This means automatically, you pay 50% of the maximum compound depending on when you settle your summonses.

“For example, for a speeding offence, the maximum compound is RM300 but if you pay within 30 days you only pay RM150.

“If you pay within the next 30 days you end up paying RM200 and if you pay after a two-month period, you end up paying the full amount of RM300,” he said in a press statement yesterday.

Motorists can settle their summonses at district traffic police counters, post offices, Maybank ATMs or via portals www.myeg.com.my and www.rilex.com.my.  They can also check traffic summons via SMS.

SAC Mohamad urged motorists not to pay to individuals claiming to offer discounts of up to 80%.

“We are only offering the maximum discount of 50% automatically and it is with the hope that offenders settle their summonses according to the schedule,” he added.