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We call on the Malaysian Government to ensure that the National Higher Education Fund Corporation follows fair criteria in approving and expediting loans and that repayment is collected efficiently


Press Statement
by Loke Siew Fook

(Kuala Lumpur, Sunday): Giving loans for deserving students irrespective of race or religion is essential in making sure that more Malaysians have tertiary education. The setting up of the corporation in 1997 was a start. According to its chairman Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah, 40% of the total number of tertiary students receive loans.

For many decades, our pubic institutes of higher learning are enshrined with quotas and restrictions based on race. If the corporation abides by merits not race, then it is a step in the right direction. However, we hope that there are fair criteria in allocating loans to applicants. It should expedite the processing of these loans so that successful students will not have to wait unnecessarily.

Topping up the loans with RM2 billion may mean that more students will receive them. Provided that there are no abuses, this will be money well-spent.

On the other hand, many loan-takers have graduated. Within six months, they have to start paying back between 10 to 20 years. We do not know how many have begun to repay. We hope that the corporation takes effective steps to ensure repayment and that there will not be defaulters who slip through the net.

Other countries such as Australia offer loans to students. They device various methods of collecting repayment. One is through the loan-takersí income tax. Then, we should also be thinking of the days when some students may not want these loans because they have to spend years paying back.

(2/3/2003)


* Loke Siew Fook,  DAPSY National Secretary