AUDIT REPORT As far as the National Higher Education Loan Fund's (PTPTN) records are concerned, nurses can earn up to RM27 million a year, and their children can still apply for financial aid, while a clerk must make do with an annual income of RM34.
This discrepancy, with regard to the salaries of parents and guardians of loan applicants, was highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report.
The report noted that there were 384 such unusual records.
The auditor-general also reported that there are 921 records with duplications, with one particular student having 13 similar accounts.
Besides job income, the home addresses of the borrowers, useful in collecting back the loan, were also poorly kept.
Under the category of “residential town” - the report found data entry with bizarre information such as "unemployed" (pengganggur), "off Jalan Ipoh," "no employer" and the most popular entry was simply "none."
Under "implausible" job titles of borrowers’ guarantors it found "zz", "guru sandaran", "head of the family", "kelani" and "Ho Seng Le."
Despite the poor record keeping, PTPTN had successfully dished out RM53.23 billion education loans over the last 16 years from 1997 to some 2.34 million needy students. From 2011 to 2013, it consistently loaned over RM5 billion a year.
"PTPTN had used the Education Loan Management System (ELMAS) first developed in 2000 and Fastrac inquiry module to handle borrowers’ information and payments.
"System modifications were made from time to time by Paradigm Systems Berhad since 2003 to fulfill government aims and PTPTN policies," the auditor-general report, released online today, said.
For example, in 2010, PTPTN launched the Islamic Education Loan Management System (ELMAS-i) to account for Islamic financing ways.
Staff get desktop and laptop
Government audit officers did a "walkthrough" of the two systems before discovering the bizarre errors. It also visited six PTPTN branches in Pahang, Sarawak, Perak, Negeri Sembilan and Kuala Lumpur.
Furthermore, the audit report was puzzled why a loan collection system (e-UPKB) started in 2003 was not integrated with the ELMAS. Therefore, the auditor-general office recommended PTPTN to do severe "data cleansing."
Despite the poor IT system management, the auditors noted the loan institution had plenty of computers to spare.
Each staff received on average a laptop and desktop. On top of that, from the computers loaned to PTPTN under contract from two companies, some 104 units worth RM101,400 were spared and kept in storage.
"In the auditor's opinion, computer procurement is not satisfactory because PTPTN has not planned carefully," the report said.
It added that PTPTN could have saved RM1.4 million over three years if it didn't give all executive staff both a personal desktop and laptop to use.
In response, PTPTN has promised to clean its master data files and this should be completed before June 2014, it said.
PTPTN also promised to look into mining and sharing more accurate borrowers’ data from other government agencies such as Road Transport department (JPJ), National Registration Department (JPN), immigration and the Employees Provident Fund (KWSP).
Also, PTPTN will look into “emergency data recovery” measures which have never before been considered as a necessary security measure.