How Low can Jho go?
When the Budget 2019 was announced last Friday, everyone who took a loan from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) was praying that the government would announce some sort of deferment for those who need it.
The Budget came and went, and the only thing we got was an automatic deduction of two to 15 per cent from a borrower's salary and an incentive for companies who help their employees settle their loans. You can read more about this here
Naturally, a lot of Malaysians were disappointed, especially those who earn less than RM2,000 a month.
So, what happened to the loan deferment that the Pakatan Harapan government promised as part of their GE14 manifesto?
Well, the government wants you to blame fugitive businessman Jho Low for that.
Wait, how is Jho Low involved?
The Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng told Bernama after the tabling of the Budget 2019 that the deferment of PTPTN loan repayments is difficult to pull off at this time because of the state of the country's economy.
Lim said the government "really want to implement it", but they ultimately can't due to the current fiscal position.
While Lim said he accepts the criticism that came from breaking the promise, he said the country would be in a better position financially if it wasn't for Jho Low.
"If Jho Low (fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho) had not taken away RM50bil
, maybe we could have done it," he was quoted as saying.
In a report by The Star Online
back in July, Lim revealed that the whole 1MDB saga has cost the country more than RM50bil.
While it's a little bit unfair to pin the entire RM50bil on the 37-year-old Low, but he is reportedly, after all, the main man behind the entire scandal.
Last week, the United States Department of Justice (DoJ) has charged
Low and two former Goldman Sachs investment bankers over their roles in the 1MDB scandal.
Low was specifically charged for "conspiring to launder billions of dollars embezzled from the fund" and conspiring to "violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by paying bribes to various Malaysian and Abu Dhabi officials".
While we're at it, can we add another charge to the list: conspiring to not let Malaysians enjoy a PTPTN loan payment deferment?
It's a big deal for some of us, OK?