PTPTN fails in bid to strike out suit

PTPTN — Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (National Higher Education Fund Corporation) failed to strike out a defamation suit filed against it by a study loan borrower.

Sessions Court Judge Unaizah Mohd had ruled that the plaintiff, bank officer Mandeep Singh a/l Karpall Singh, 26, had a cause of action against the defendant, PTPTN and set April 9 and April 12, 2012 for a full trial to hear the case.

The judge also set March 5, 2012 for the case management for both parties to finalise their documents before the trial.

The plaintiff is scheduled to call two witnesses while the defendant will call three.

On September 20, 2011, Mandeep filed the suit at the Sessions Court’s Civil Registry against PTPTN for defamation and the wrongful arrest after he was blacklisted for allegedly failing to settle his study loan.

Mandeep said under his study loan agreement dated November 9, 2006, PTPTN had agreed to lend him RM48,000. He had settled the outstanding loan amount due to the education fund totalling RM2,330.82 and this had been acknowledged by PTPTN with an official receipt.

PTPTN informed of his travel

Mandeep had planned for a holiday trip with his cousin to to Guangzhou, China scheduled on July 6, 2011 and informed PTPTN in advance of his intentions to travel. He had asked them to remove his name from the blacklist.

However, on the day of departure i.e. July 6, 2011, he was detained by the Malaysian Immigration Officers at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT), Sepang and prevented from leaving for his trip. The officers informed him that his name had been blacklisted in the Immigration database.

Mandeep informed the officers that he has no outstanding loan amount but PTPTN had failed to remove his name from the database although he had notified PTPTN to do so.

Following that, he claimed he was humiliated in public and the episode had tarnished his reputation and denied him of his pre-booked and pre-paid overseas holiday travel.

Counsel Abdul Malik bin Abdul Hakim was representing Mandeep while counsel Farhan Abdullah acted for PTPTN.

Judge denied PTPTN’s application

PTPTN applied to strike out the claim on the grounds that the plaintiff’s actions involved constitutional issues and given this, only the High Court had the jurisdiction to hear the matter.

PTPTN also claimed that it had the right to bar students who defaulted on their study loan repayments from leaving the country.

Abdul Malik said that there was no constitutional issues involved. He said PTPTN had wrongly exercised its discretion by continuing to blacklist his client even after he had completely paid up the study loan.

Judge Unaizah Mohd dismissed the PTPTN’s application with costs.

Mandeep is seeking RM19,000 in special damages for flight ticket and hotel booking, foreign currency exchange and legal costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

Video by Citizen Journalist, R.Vijay Kumar