Higher education minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin confirmed in a press statement that The National Higher Education Corporate Fund (PTPTN) had frozen its loans to students studying in Universiti Selangor (Unisel). So it seems that the protesters of ‘Occupy Dataran’, who asked for the abolishment of PTPTN, had won, even if it’s in a small scale as a start.
One would think that the students and the opposition leaders who support their protest would now be on cloud nine, rejoicing on the fruits of their labour. But instead, PKR’s director of strategy, Rafizi Ramli, made a press statement saying that “Khaled (Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin) should resign from his post if he had instructed the PTPTN freeze on Unisel’s students”. Pretty baffling indeed, since for the opposition leaders especially PKR, PTPTN is nothing but a burden that caused students to be in debt even before getting their first salary.
Unisel is a Selangor-owned university which is under the opposition’s rule. Since PKR is openly criticising the government for implementing PTPTN as a tool to help students financing their studies, so why are they complaining when PTPTN is not offered to PKR’s Selangor-owned university? Isn’t it what they had been fighting for? The opposition should carry on with their plans to offer free tertiary education in Unisel. After all, they are promising free tertiary education to all Malaysians if they win the 13th General Election (PRU 13) as they do not believe in troubling the students to pay back their loan as the current government does today. Indeed only just a few days ago the opposition leader Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim told his audiences in Permatang Pauh not to pay their PTPTN loan,
“No need to pay, let them sue if they want! However, you must pay other loans, no need for PTPTN.”
Of course in slamming PTPTN as something like a ‘loan shark’, they simply do not mention the fact that if a student obtains good grades throughout her or his studies, she or he can apply for the loan to be turned into a scholarship thus there is no need to pay the PTPTN.
That leaves us with the question, are the oppositions really serious with their promise of a free tertiary education? If so, why are they so furious when PTPTN had frozen its loans to students studying in Unisel? If they are at lost as of how to finance Unisel without the fees paid by their students then how are going to finance all the (very much) bigger universities in the country if free tertiary education becomes a reality? Or is free tertiary education is just another not to be fulfilled promise as lots of other promises given to the people of Selangor before they win the state in the 12th General Election in 2008? After all they can just easily blame the Barisan Nasional leaders for draining all money and putting Malaysia in a bankrupt state.