Teh Guat Hong v Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan  MLJU 660
The Court of Appeal recently allowed an appeal by a former student who passed with a First Class Honours degree in law to have her PTPTN loan exempted by the agency. The facts of the case are as follows. The appellant, Teh Guat Hong, had borrowed RM48,000 from PTPTN to pay her fees to do the LLB degree from the University of London at a local college. She completed the course in 2002 graduating with First Class Honours. In 2003, PTPTN, through a circular, announced that PTPTN borrowers who passed with a First Class Honours degree will have their loans exempted. Acting on the information in the circular, the appellant wrote to PTPTN to have her loan exempted. PTPTN took the position that the appellant was not entitled to the exemption because her course was not accredited. The appellant produced an accreditation certificate for the course that was issued in 2005, but this was not accepted by the loan agency. PTPTN claimed that in to be eligible for exemption the course had to accredited during the entire period of the student’s tenure in the course. The Court of Appeal rejected PTPTN’s argument. Giving the words of the circular their plain and literal meaning, the court held that the circular only required the course to be accredited, not that it had to be accredited during the entire period the student was registered for the course.
‘Having regard to the factual matrix and the spirit of the formulation of the policy i.e. to give recognition to excellent graduates, we formed the view that the focus should be on the words “kursus yang mendapat Sijil Perakuan Akreditasi ...”. In other words, the accreditation must relate to the course itself and not to the period when the graduate was attending the course. To focus on the date when the certificate of accreditation was obtained would result in unfairness and absurd situation.’