Thursday, June 17, 2010

STUDY LOAN DEFAULTERS, SHAME ON YOU!

The Malaysian government’s decision to eventually scrap the 1,500 Public Service Department (PSD) scholarships has drawn much flak from all quarters. This move will deprive academically gifted students, particularly those from low income families, of an opportunity to further their education and contribute to the future development of the country.
 

Minister in the PM’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, who is in charge of the scholarships has asked the public to accept the reality of the situation. He explained that the government does not have the funds to finance the studies of a growing pool of bright students seeking financial aid to pursue their studies in foreign universities.

Personally, I find his reasons unacceptable. It’s all about priorities. No money for scholarships, but funds available for a new RM800m Parliament building, and a new RM811m Istana Negara?

Aside from full scholarships, PSD also gives out study loans. To date, PSD has been unable to collect from 11,253 loan defaulters. This is a conservative estimate and includes 866 civil servants who owe about RM135.8m. As for the total amount owing, who knows. The money for the study loans comes from a revolving fund of taxpayers’ money. Those who have taken loans but have not repaid them are depleting this fund. No wonder there isn’t enough money now to help needy and deserving students.

MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat) offers scholarships and study loans to Malay and bumiputra students. It regularly publishes a list of loan defaulters in the major newspapers in the hope of shaming them into repaying the loans. MARA has also threatened to blacklist them, take legal action against them, declare them bankrupt and confiscate their passports should they attempt to leave the country. But despite these measures, MARA has had limited success in recovering loan arrears amounting to a whopping RM500m!

As a last resort, the PSD is in talks with Bank Negara to join the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS). Financial institutions use the system to check the credit worthiness of loan applicants before approving their loan applications for housing, car, business, credit card and so on.

Only time will tell if this latest move will scare these recalcitrant borrowers into repaying their study loan.

I for one won’t be holding my breath.

3 comments:

Antares said...

The ugly truth emerges. After 40 years of NEP we are burdened with a racist, self-enriching civil service that effectively practises apartheid. Humans, like other animals, are tribalistic and programmed to be xenophobic. However, unlike animals, humans are supposedly able to deactivate and transcend near-sighted, countersurvival prejudices and embrace inclusivity - the mark of greater intelligence and maturity. Apparently, our local bureaucrats are still caught up in animalistic tribalism which prevents them from valuing those outside the tribe!

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