SEMENYIH,. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would have been able to fulfil its GE14 promise to higher education fund borrowers but for alleged 1MDB mastermind Jho Low, the finance minister said today.
Lim Guan Eng had come under fire for the government’s recent announcement requiring all National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) borrowers to repay their loans, even those earning RM1,000 a month instead of the past election promise that only those earning RM4,000 monthly.
“I accept these criticisms because really, we wanted to implement [our manifesto], but you look at our fiscal position, what can we do?
“If Jho Low had not taken away RM50 billion, it definitely can be done,” he told reporters at the launch of the Fund My Home programme here.
Lim was referring to the Penang-born whose real name is Low Taek Jho and who remains at large despite being indicted on money laundering charges in Malaysia in August and on several other criminal charges in the US earlier this week.
Lim stressed that the government is not unreasonable and has come up with several options for borrowers who are now working to pay repay their loans.
“What we’re saying is, we want to provide alternatives, but at the same time, we know it is difficult because of the financial fiscal position,” he added.
In tabling Budget 2019 last Friday, Lim said those drawing a lowly RM1,000 monthly will only have 2 per cent of their salaries deducted in scheduled repayments while those earning more than RM1,00 monthly can opt to repay between 2 and 15 per cent.
The government is also cancelling all PTPTN debts for those aged 60 and above who earn RM4,000 a month.
Lim said the scheme will benefit 350 borrowers.
Additionally, companies that help employees repay the balance of their PTPTN loans will be given tax exemptions for the next financial year.