KUCHING: The percentage of unpaid Sarawak Foundation study loans is as low as 0.1%, says its director, Azmi Bujang.
We are very fortunate that students and parents who obtained study loans from the Sarawak Foudation are very understanding and cooperative in repaying back the loans, he told reporters after the Yayasan Sarawak Majlis Ramah Tamah Aidilfitri with Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg here.
Azmi said the Sarawak Foundation was targeting to collect RM10 million a year and had so far, achieved 80 per cent of the total amount a year.
Based on the performance (repaying loan) so far, we are quite happy about that although there are some who refused to pay back, but the number is less than 0.1%, he said, adding that for those who ignored repayment would eventually receive a letter of demand from the foundations lawyers.
He reminded students and parents of their obligation, saying that loans given to them were part of a revolving fund to fund other students.
Azmi said the foundation provide a lot of incentives to students. For example, if they obtained first class honours, they will be given discounts up to 75%, while those achieving second upper and lower will be given up to 50% discount.
These are incentives given to students to encourage them to pay back their loan and we are telling students when they are studying in the university, the moment they furnish their results we will disburse the loan, and so they should do likewise.
We have done our part in fulfilling our contract and once they graduate, they should come back and repay their loan to us, he added.
Azmi said study loans were given to any deserving student studying at public and private universities in the country and abroad as long as they got a seat in the university and were not receiving assistance from other organisations.
He said the quantum was between RM30,000 and RM40,000, depending on the level of studies and fees charged by the university.
According to Azmi, the Sarawak Foundation budgets between RM60 million and RM70 million a year for education, of which 80% goes to providing education loans.
On a recent announcement by the Sarawak chief minister to increase timber premium, he said the foundation was very grateful to the state government for taking such initiative, adding that it would enable the foundation to assist more deserving students to pursue their tertiary or technical education.
Collection of the premium will be channelled to the Sarawak Foundation Fund managed by Sarawak Foundation to finance bright students for tertiary studies, including in top foreign universities.