The number of National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan defaulters barred from travelling overseas has increased four-fold from last year, the New Straits Times reported today.
According to statistics provided by the Immigration Department, 707,304 people were barred from leaving the country so far this year, and PTPTN defaulters were the highest with 261,833 cases. Last year, there were 55,839 PTPTN borrowers who were barred.
The second largest group of Malaysians on the Immigration blacklist were those who had been declared bankrupt by the Insolvency Department, with 212,927 cases, while tax defaulters placed third, with 128,187 people barred from travelling overseas.
Immigration Department director-general Mustafar Ali attributed the rise in the number of PTPTN defaulters as well as others who are unaware of their blacklisting as one reason for delays at airports and other gateways out of the country.
“Travellers who arrive at airports without being aware of their status are contributing to the long queue at the department’s check-in counters at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA),” Mustafar was quoted as saying by the daily.
He added that this problem could escalate with a growing number of agencies asking his department to stop those with unsettled payments from leaving the country.
“The names of these individuals will be placed in the Suspected List (SL), which is growing every year.
“Our eGate system will go through the database and those whose names are in the SL will be denied boarding. The eGate system will not provide details on why they cannot leave the country.
“The blacklisted individuals will then be directed to manned counters and given the contact numbers of related agencies,” Mustafar said, according to the NST.
According to the Immigration Departmet, even the number of people listed in the SL had also increased by more than 250,000 compared with last year.
Mustafar urged travellers to check their status prior to travelling, in order to avoid creating bottlenecks at airports and other exit gateways, by accessing the Immigration Department website.
Hundreds of travellers have faced difficulties at the Immigration counters of KLIA and klia2 since June this year. This had received substantial media coverage and caused disgruntled travellers to take to social media to voice their frustration.
Mustafar had vowed to overcome the issue by having the department’s counters to be manned at all times.