THE Sabah Foundation has mounted a national campaign to get graduates to pay back their loans to enable other students to take advantage of its scholarships.
About 100 east Malaysian graduates still owe about M$1million (approximately Pounds 212,000) to the foundation. Sabah Foundation director Datuk Musa Aman has urged the defaulters to come forward and pay their debts at the earliest opportunity.
The names of students who have not paid back their loans will be published in the national press, and those not paying up by a stated deadline will face legal action, he said.
Dr Musa was speaking after giving out Sabah Foundation scholarships to 180 students pursuing their studies at the University of Malaysia Sabah and the Mara Institute of Technology.
The response to the demand for repayment has been good, with the foundation receiving about M$1.4 million from loan holders this year, compared with M$1.3 million last year.
Dr Musa said the moves were not designed to frighten graduates genuinely unable to repay their loans since graduating, but to pressure those who have to honour the conditions of their loan agreements. "We want them to pay us back because other students need the money," he said.
Since it was set up in 1968 the foundation has awarded about M$98.8 million in scholarships and around M$88.4 million in student loans. About 11,821 students have benefited.
The government has assured parents and future student loan seekers that the shortfall in loan repayments would not impair their prospects.