Archive for the ‘Scholarships and Loans’ Category

Scholarship offer a positive step in poverty eradication.

Tuesday, January 8th, 2019

Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob

KOTA KINABALU: State Assembly Deputy Speaker Datuk George Ginibun has applauded the State Government’s efforts to eradicate poverty in Sabah.

“I want to offer my heartfelt thanks on behalf of the poor students in Sabah to our Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob for launching what would be a first good news for our poor young Sabahans in 2019.

“It is indeed a great piece of news and a small step forward by the Education and Innovation Ministry with the recent announcement to offer Sabah scholarships to 250 poor students to further their studies in vocational courses,” he opined.

“It’s just been a week into the New Year and we see another positive move by the Sabah State Government in an effort to reduce poverty in Sabah,” he said, adding that Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony had said the State’s development, particularly in the rural areas, needs to be further increased to ensure the socio-economic gap between the urban and rural areas can be narrowed.

“This is because the State is still number one in terms of poverty rate and the highest in terms of joblessness in the country which is at 2.9 per cent and 5.5 percent respectively,” he pointed out.

According to him, the minister disclosed that the State Government aims to increase the present pace of development in the State with the assistance of the Federal Government.

“I’m sure the Sabah Government through certain ministries will continue to come up with more initiations to help reduce poverty in Sabah from now on. Sadly to say, poverty in Sabah is amongst one of the worse in Malaysia and there are simply not enough time and effort to eradicate poverty here.

“We faced a multidimensional situation when it comes to poverty in Sabah and single factor solution is only one step forward. Education is definitely one of the main culprits to tackle amongst the hard core poor in our rural areas,” said Ginibun who disclosed that he too had a hard time growing up as his family was poor.

The Deputy State Assembly Speaker pointed out that according to Ted K. Bradshaw, The Academic Senate of University of California, comprehensive development efforts for individuals, based on strategic efforts toward self-sufficiency through education is one form of reduction of poverty that is very effective for any country in the long term.

“I can totally relate to Ted K. Bradshaw studies as I have come from an extreme hard core poor situation when l was growing up and education surely must be one of the main contributing factors to bringing me to where I am today.

“I am extremely passionate in the topic of poverty in Sabah and I would sincerely offer my assistance in terms of advice, support and encouragement to any efforts to reduce poverty here,” explained Ginibun.

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Don’t just fix repayments

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018
Higher education institutions pitching their offerings at an education fair at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. FILE PIC

THE government’s strategy to reform student loans through the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) is now finally becoming clearer.

After much reflection, the emphasis is on improving the repayment rates from borrowers rather than reforming the system as a whole. As always, the weight of the problem will fall on the students.

The introduction of tiered repayments between two per cent and 15 per cent based on income of more than RM1,000 per month angered many people who argued that this is a breach of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) election manifesto to limit repayments to those earning more than RM4,000 per month.

On reflection, it may be too early to be so harsh. Perhaps the new policy is better viewed as a sensible mechanism for the government to stabilise the system and then raise the threshold from RM1,000 to RM4,000 before GE15

The real disappointment in the PTPTN reform announced in the 2019 Budget is that it fails to address the substantial structural issues underlying the use of PTPTN funds, particularly in private universities. Just fixing the repayments will not settle the PTPTN problem — we need to know how the universities are spending the billions in PTPTN funds that they receive each year.

Our research on private university finances, to be presented at a public lecture at Monash University today shows, shows that billions of ringgit are transferred out of the private universities each year.

Based on audited financial accounts from the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) for 75 out of 96 private universities, we estimated that in 2016 transfers out in the form of dividends, taxes, marketing and senior manager salaries amounted to around RM838 million. This is equivalent to 41 per cent of the PTPTN loans allocated to the institutions in our sample in that year.

From 2010-2016, we estimated that at least RM4.7 billion has been transferred out of the private higher education institutions (HEIs) in our sample. This is equivalent to 29 per cent of the PTPTN loans over the same period.

The biggest share of these transfers-out goes to pay the owners of the companies that run the private universities. Between 2010 and 2016, RM1.98 billion was transferred out of the private HEIs as dividends to owners. This is equivalent to nine per cent of the PTPTN loans transferred into the system.

Ironically, this means that students are borrowing large amounts of money to pay shareholders rather than to pay for their own education. In 2016, the amount of dividends paid was enough to retire 21 per cent of the PTPTN debt allocated to students at the private universities in our sample in that year.

Another drag on resources for the private universities is the government itself. SSM data shows that RM781 million in taxes was paid between 2010 and 2016. In another irony, to save money, PTPTN reduced the maximum loan for private students by 15 per cent in 2014 but this cost the government RM90 million in lost taxes due to the negative impact on private HEI profits.

Despite falling profits and an increasingly unstable financial environment for private universities, their senior managers are very well paid. Over the period 2010-2016 we estimated that RM672 million was paid to vice-chancellors and chief executives across the underperforming private higher education sector. This is despite worsening profits and rising financial instability.

The intense competition for students among private universities leads to high spending on marketing, advertising and recruitment agents. Our conservative estimate is that RM204 million per year or RM1.43 billion between 2010 and 2016 has been spent on marketing.

This is enough to build one new private university per year or to fund the income of three average-sized private universities for the same period. Actually, anecdotal evidence suggests that as much as RM700 million to RM800 million may be wasted on marketing, advertising and recruitment each year across the almost 100 private HEIs.

It goes without saying that all of this money lost to the system from dividends, taxes, marketing and salaries could be better spent on improving the financial stability of the universities and raising the quality of education for the students. It would also go some way to improving the pay and conditions of academics and staff.

The solutions must include a combination of efforts from the government and the private universities themselves. For the government, solving the tax problem is a simple matter of giving tax relief, on specific terms, to private universities that show they are investing profits back into their stakeholders.

Cutting marketing expenditure requires a mature collaboration between private universities to create a new centralised system for recruitment of students. This would cut the need for intense head-on competition and the high, wasted costs that this creates.

Sadly, I fear that we will wait a long time for this to happen if left to the universities themselves — so the government may have to lead on this as well.

Dealing with salaries requires that senior managers in private universities and their public counterparts for that matter, follow the example of listed companies and now even ministers in the government, and publish their pay and bonuses. This would help to ensure that they can be held to account by shareholders, students and staff alike.

By Geoffrey Williams.

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Budget 2019: PTPTN initiatives announced

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

PETALING JAYA: To ensure the sustainability of the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), the government has announced several initiatives in Budget 2019.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said these include the option of payment through deductions of between 2% and 15% from the borrower’s salary, based on their monthly income rate.

This system will only be applicable to borrowers earning more than RM1,000 a month.

Additionally, a tax break will be given to companies that assist its staff to settle their loans by the year ending 2019, Lim said.

Individual income tax breaks for the National Education Saving Scheme will also be increased from RM6,000 to RM8,000.

Finally, the government has also announced that all remaining loans for borrowers aged above 60 and earning less than RM4,000 a month have been waived, benefiting 350 borrowers with a cost of RM4.2 million.

By Martin Vengadesan

PTPTN loan cut affects students intake

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Liew (centre), flanked by Gabriel and Wong, with the rest of the combined delegation from ATI College and MICCI Sabah Branch.

KOTA KINABALU: Deputy Chief Minister cum Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment, Datuk Christina Liew will bring the issue of shortage of skilled manpower in the burgeoning tourism industry to the attention of State Government.

She gave the assurance during a meeting with officials from the Asian Tourism International (ATI) College and Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) recently.

“Based on our estimation and accurately so, tourism is the third biggest revenue-earner for Sabah after palm oil and crude oil. For
this reason, the State Government and my ministry are really focusing on it. I am aware of the increasing demand for more trained personnel in the tourism sector, now that we are seeing an influx of tourists from China in particular.

“I would raise the college’s request for financial aid with the State Government. Apart from the PTPTN loans for students, we will try to seek sponsorship from Yayasan Sabah and big corporations if possible,” she said.

Briefing Liew on the financial woes facing ATI College, Executive Chairman Datuk Seri Wong Khen Thau urged the new Government to view it seriously.

“Lack of human capital development for the tourism industry is a serious issue. It is very alarming for Sabah. We (ATI College) provide crucial manpower for the tourism, culinary and F&B industries.

“However, the major slash on PTPTN loans from the Federal Government has affected our intake of students. We had appealed to the previous government but to no avail.

“Loans aside, private colleges in Sabah like ours have never enjoyed grants or allocations from the government unlike the independent
Chinese secondary schools and government-run university colleges, community colleges and polytechnic institutions,” he pointed out.

The minister concurred with Wong that the focus should also be on developing tourism awareness among the youths, especially those from the rural districts like Kota Marudu, Pitas and Keningau, among others, in the interest of human resource development and career prospects.

“Some 60 to 70 per cent of our ATI College students are from rural areas.

“They need help as the government loans are just sufficient to cover the tuition fees. The college has a capacity of 700 to 800, of whom
70 to 80 per cent apply for loans. For a two-and-a-half-year diploma course in culinary arts, the cost is about RM20,000 per student.

As the PTPTN loan has been slashed down to RM12,000, the college has to subsidise heavily to the tune of about RM8,000. We also provide free transport and accommodation to trainee students,” said the president of the Sabah Association of Private Institutions of Higher Learning.

Wong, who is also chairman of MICCI Sabah Branch, presented the following requests to Liew.

* Provision of a State Government scholarship for the Tourism,
Hospitality and Culinary Programme
* Provision of funding for government loans to enable more students to pursue education under the Tourism, Hospitalty and Culinary Progamme
* Assistance for poor rural students to pursue studies at the college
* Creating a “Tourism Lab” for all trainers, lecturers and other players in the industry to work together

With a five-star rating, ATI College has been in operation for 21 years. Wong said it is the only homegrown skill training institution
in Sabah offering tourism-related courses, and also trains potential tourist guides. These include Diploma in Diving & Resort Management, Diploma in Tourism Management, Diploma in Hotel Management, Diploma in Culinary Arts, Diploma in Pastry Arts and Certificate in Culinary Arts.

Based on a study, he said approximately 40,000 students graduate at SPM level each year but only 20,000 of them pursue further studies.

“What will happen to the other 20,000?” he asked.

In his briefing, Wong, who is also chairman of MICCI Sabah Branch, disclosed that there is 95 per cent employability of graduates within the tourism, culinary and F&B industries.

“The remaining five per cent either start their own business in the F&B industry or venture into other economic sectors,” he said.

According to him, ATI College graduates are much sought after by hotels at the operational and managerial levels, apart from travel

Wong, however, lamented that trainers in the tourism sector are “unsung heroes” as not much attention was paid to their grievances in the past.

“I hope the minister will look into this aspect. Trainers are contributing significantly to manpower development in Malaysia,” he

With full service airlines from China and the presence of different categories of tourists, Datuk John Lo, a member of the ATI Board of
Governors, said there is a pressing need for trained personnel to service high-end tourism.

“Tourism personnel are the determinant of success of our tourism and hospitality industry,” he said.

Noting the decline in student enrolment at ATI College, MICCI Sabah Branch vice-chairman Lee Swi Heng said this phenomenon had resulted in the shortage of skilled personnel in the tourism industry. “Most of the hotels are facing this problem marked by 30 to 40 unfilled vacancies. We are looking at 10 per cent drop in terms of manpower. Some of the hotels could be even worse. As more hotels are coming up, the level of service provided to guests will be adversely affected. In the long term, this could give rise to the issue of visitors not coming to Sabah,” he shared.

Meanwhile, the minister said some of the suggestions made by the delegation are in the pipeline awaiting implementation.

“For instance, the ministry through the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) is in the process of converting Gaya Street into a ‘walking street’ for tourists only at night. This is an ideal place for them to sample local delicacies and buy Sabah souvenirs. It is opening soon. The spot will be closed to traffic temporarily. We will try it out for three nights a week, and if it works well, then we will have it every night,” Liew enthused.

She was responding to John who said based on feedback from Chinese tourists, they have no place to spend their money while holidaying in the State capital.

She also took note of his call for the revival of the now-defunct Sabah International Hotels Association, which had been absorbed by the Malaysia Association of Hotels.

She reiterated that the issues of managing dirty toilets, opening of more immigration counters at the KKIA and making available
Chinese-speaking officers to cater to Chinese tourists, were being addressed.

“Malaysia Airports Bhd (MAB) has assured me that everything will be in order by the end of the year,” she said.

The meeting with the minister also revolved around tourism tax, shortage of tourist guides in Sandakan and Tawau, RSTG (Regional Sabah Tourist Guide) Training Course which offers a JPK Skill Certificate for Tour Guide (JPK is Department of Skill Development) and the Sabah Hospitality Fiesta. According to RSTG lead trainer Lim Su Khiong, this programme is only for Sabah where the training curriculum was designed by tourism players.

“Rest assured, I will work on what has been raised. And I will look into the suggestion that a ‘mystery shopper’ programme be put in place. The purpose is for ‘mystery shoppers’ to check out things on the ground and report directly to me. In fact, I am a ‘mystery shopper’ myself. Every time I travel, I would check the condition of toilets at the KKIA or those at other airports in major towns,

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Govt to ensure PTPTN loan payment formula will not burden borrower

Thursday, October 4th, 2018
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik during an interview with Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI) today. NSTP/NURUL SHAFINA JEMENON

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Education will ensure the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan payment formula will not burden the borrower, especially those who have just started working.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the minimum pay-back rate for students was still being studied.

“PTPTN debtors have to pay back the loans, depending on one’s affordability.

“However, the implementation criteria is still under discussion between the Ministry and PTPTN to ensure the suggested method is not going to be a burden,” he said during an interview with Malaysia Hari Ini (MHI) today.

He was responding when asked about the proposed loan payment formula by PTPTN which involved the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Meanwhile in an interview with MHI, Maszlee said teachers should be recognised as a ‘hero’ to their students, someone who was always responsible for their academics and morals.

“Previously teachers were dedicated to guide their students. However today, teachers are always busy with clerical work

By Siti Nur Zawani Miscon -

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Do not politicise PTPTN: borrowers must pay back loans, says Dr Maszlee.

Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

KODIANG (Bernama): The Education Ministry has called on all quarters, including the opposition, to cease linking the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) with the Pakatan Harapan (PH)  manifesto for the 14th general election.

Its minister, Dr Maszlee Malik, said this was because all borrowers, no matter of what loans, were obliged to settle their repayments.

“Whatever the manifesto says, the borrowers have to pay back the loan.

“The opposition, they just want to politicise the issue. This concerns one’s behaviour and moral; when you borrow money, you have to pay, even at RM10 a month,” he told reporters after a visit to Sekolah Kebangsaan Siputeh on Sunday (Sept 23).

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had three days ago expressed regret over the untrustworthy attitude of PTPTN borrowers who did not pay back their loans, resulting in arrears totalling RM36bil.

According to Dr Mahathir, the loan defaulters included those who already secured jobs.

PH, in its last general election manifesto, among others, stated that it would defer repayment of PTPTN loans for borrowers earning RM4,000 a month and below.

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RM10m aid for students

Friday, July 27th, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: The State Government through the Sabah Foundation Group (KYS) will give a one-off assistance this year worth RM10 million to bright SPM and STPM Sabahan students to continue their studies at higher leaning institutions.

Chief Minister cum Sabah Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said at least 5,000 students will benefit, including from less fortunate backgrounds.

“This year we have set aside RM10 million as a one off assistance for approximately 5,000 students including those less fortunate students whose parents do not have the means to fund their studies.

“There are some parents who also end up incurring debt in order to assist their children to further their studies after SPM and STPM.”

Shafie said the number of scholarship recipients would also be increased in the years to come and there will be recipients from each district in the state.

He said the initiative is proof of the commitment under the new State Government to provide opportunities to young Sabahans to continue their studies to university or tertiary level.

“If the state’s finances are good we will ensure the assistance will be increased next year as educational knowledge and human capital development is one of the priorities of the state government.

This is something important for us,” he said, after presentation of 29th State Scholarship Awards at the Tun Ahmad Raffae Auditorium, Menara Tun Mustapha, Thursday.

This year, 40 excellent SPM students received State scholarships compared to 25 last year.

Shafie said the State Government will also set up at State level institutions that are linked to industries in the State Government’s focus.

“We have set up such institutions as Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) before so we don’t need the approval of any kind of authority to do so. We just set it up and of course we will ensure the school’s curriculum will be in line with the industry’s needs.”

Also present was State Education and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Yusof Yacob and State Education Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul.

Meanwhile Sabah Foundation Deputy Director Datuk Rosmawati Lasuki said the assistance showed the commitment of the State Government to give more opportunities to Sabahans to pursue their education to a higher level.

She said KYS will continue to work closely with the state government in efforts to provide education assistance to less fortunate students to pursue their studies.

by Neil Chan.

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PTPTN borrowers, you have nine days to update your info

Monday, July 16th, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR: National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan borrowers have been given nine days – from July 17 to July 25 – to update PTPTN with their latest income information.

If they fail to do so, PTPTN would presume that the borrowers are not interested in applying to defer their loan repayment.

PTPTN chairman Wan Saiful Wan Jan, announcing this on Monday, said PTPTN is carrying out the information-gathering exercise before implementing the loan payment deferment for those earning under RM4,000 a month.

“All borrowers who still have outstanding loans are required to update their income information online through PTPTN’s website.

“If they fail to do so within the stipulated period, we will assume that the borrowers aren’t interested in deferring their loan repayment period,” he told a press conference at Menara PTPTN.

He said apart from the income information, borrowers also need to update their personal details such as address, phone number and email address.

Wan Saiful said PTPTN is hoping that relevant agencies such as the Finance Ministry, Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will help in terms of data-sharing to facilitate the process.

“We are facing obstacles in obtaining the data as this information is protected under the Personal Data Protection Act 2010. As such, we are appealing to the relevant agencies as well as the borrowers themselves to help PTPTN with updating the information,” he said

“In any case, the loan deferment is not a ticket to escaping from paying their loans. All loans must be settled, even if it is done bit by bit.

“PTPTN is targeting a RM4 billion collection this year to enable other people who wish to apply for PTPTN loans,” he said.

He said that as of June, a total of 429,945 borrowers have been removed from the Immigration Department’s blacklist, in line with the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s manifesto to help the borrowers.

Meanwhile, Wan Saiful also denied that his appointment as the new PTPTN chairman runs contrary to PH’s manifesto.

PTPTN, he said, is a statutory body. This, he said, means that his appointment did not go against PH’s manifesto on not allowing political appointments, as that only applies to government-linked companies (GLCs).

“Yes, political appointments are against the PH manifesto, but it only applies to positions within GLCs, not statutory bodies.

“This issue was deliberately raised. I invite those who are criticising this appointment to re-read the manifesto,” he said.


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Maszlee sets out with plans to fix problems.

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

PUTRAJAYA: Fresh graduates drawing a salary below RM4,000 could delay repayment of their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans once the details have been hashed out.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said he was working on this “100-day promise” of Pakatan Harapan and will meet with the Immigration Department soon to discuss blacklisting measures that are currently in place on PTPTN loan defaulters.

“I am confident borrowers will repay the loan when their salary hits RM4,000, and believe there will be more repaying their loans than defaulters in the future,” he told reporters after the handover of duties from his predecessor Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh at the Higher Education Ministry yesterday.

The Simpang Renggam MP, who believes the merging of the Higher Education and Education Ministries was “not a big issue”, said he was working on abolishing the Univer-sity and University Colleges Act 1971.

Dr Maszlee will also be meeting with various parties and stakeholders to discuss matters regarding the Unified Examination Certificate, an examination held by the United School Committees’ Association Malaysia for Chinese independent high school students.

Their views and opinions will be taken into consideration to reach a solution, he said.

Dr Maszlee did not rule out the possibility of providing free education in public universities.

“It is a noble idea and a good way forward. However, the Government is fixing a sunken ship right now. We will look into this proposal after the fixing is done,” said the minister.

He added that the ministry is committed to lightening the burden of teachers and students, as part of Pakatan Harapan’s promise.

Having teacher assistants is a plan that needs to be discussed further, but will be made a reality in five years, he said.

“My long-term goal is to make sure the education system of Malaysia is world class or on par with developed nations,” he said, adding that he also hopes to instil the value of “love and happiness” and mutual respect into the education sector.
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PTPTN Act Must Be Amended For Study Abroad

Monday, December 11th, 2017

JOHOR BAHRU, Dec 11 (Bernama) –The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) act must be amended to enable educational funding to be expanded to Malaysian students studying abroad.

Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh said this was because PTPTN, which was set up under the PTPTN Act 1997 (Act 566), only gave out and collected loan repayments for higher educational study in the country.

However, he said the issue of recovering PTPTN loans must be emphasised first before considering the move.

“We have to table the act in Parliament to amend it, but we forget PTPTN had financial problems two years ago. So pay the loans first. Don’t be too quick to ask for it to be expanded to students abroad,” he told reporters after a ceremony to sign a collaboration certificate between the Polytechnic Education Department and MMC Corporation Berhad at Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas here, today.

Idris said the repayment of PTPTN loans was showing improvements lately and a bigger amount was expected to be collected at the end of the year due to the awareness of borrowers.

“The collection can be further improved upon. The amount collected was RM2 billion two years ago, RM3.4 billion last year and we expect to collect more than RM4 billion this year.This figure can be further improved, and this means Malaysians understand and are starting to make repayments,” he said.

The Puteri UMNO movement on Dec 6 was reported to have said that it wanted the education funding under PTPTN be expanded to Malaysian students studying abroad.

The movement’s chief Datuk Mas Ermieyati Samsudin was reported to have said after the National Women Student Secretariat’s (Swinas) appreciation ceremony that the funding could help ease the problem of the cost of living of the students abroad which was high and burdensome.


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