RM1 bil allocated for education savings scheme
Sarawak Tribune - Sunday, 29 June 2003

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IPOH-Parents earning less than RM1,000 a month are to be given a RM1 to RM1 match­ing grant when they contribute towards their children's education account under the National Education Savings Scheme to be launched end of the year.

National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) chairman, Datuk Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said that the scheme would be launched with the RM1 bil­lion grant announced by the government during the budget last year.

"We have done the study and everything is ready. This is under the caring society con­cept and I don't think any government in the world has this (scheme)," he said after launching the first patient-run car wash cen­tre at Hospital Bahagia in Tanjong Ram­butan near here yesterday.

Ahmad Husni said that deposits under the scheme would be managed by selected finan­cial institutions and it would be open to all Malaysians.

He said that there would be no limit to the amount of savings but the RM 1 to RM 1 matching grant would be given to parents with combined income less than RM1,000 only.

"In fact, we will encourage parents to save from the day their children are born. It's all up to them on how much they want, to save for their children's education," he said.

Previously, Ahmad Husni has stated that the scheme, announced under the Eighth Malaysia Plan in 2001, would be similar to the Tabung Haji savings concept and is not mandatory.       

"If parents start saving RM100 for their children when they are in Year One, they will have savings more than RM20,000 including interests when the child finishes Form Five," he was reported as saying.

Ahmad Husni said parents could with­draw the savings once their children com­pleted their schooling and opt for studies at either public universities or private colleges.

He said that there would be some flexibili­ty when it comes to withdrawal before the children finish their schooling but not from the government's portion.

"We are not rigid ... we are finalising cer­tain rules in this respect. But the parents will not get our portion of RM1 matching grant if they withdraw earlier," he said.

He said that the main intention of the scheme was for parents to save for their chil­dren's higher education and not depend on the government as what was happening now.

At present, the PTPTN gives out loans to students both at public and private institu­tions of higher learning. This year, the gov­ernment has allocated RM2 billion for the fund. - Bernama