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Students threaten to protest over freeze

 | June 7, 2012

PTPTN's decision to freeze loans for Unisel students has left a student's group livid. SSM also takes the DPM to task for endorsing the move.

PETALING JAYA: A students’ group has threatened to take to the streets over the freeze of PTPTN (National Higher Education Fund Corporation) loans for new students enrolled at the Selangor-owned Universiti Selangor (Unisel).

Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM), which represents 15 student bodies, said it would give PTPTN one week to resolve the issue or they would hold demonstrations.

SMM secretary Haziq Abdul Aziz told FMT that Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin acted in bad faith and indulged in “cheap politics”.

“Khaled is an unprofessional public officer. He should be non-partisian and not biased. Not act as an exco of his own political party.

“He should remember his salary is paid by the rakyat’s tax money and act as a fair government officer. He should not be going after PKR and (Opposition Leader) Anwar (Ibrahim) and make us students political victims,” he added.

Haziq also said Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak seemed “not to care” about the issue as he remained silent.

“That means that he is allowing his people to do things like this, he is in cahoots with Khaled,” he added.

Both MIC and MCA objected to the freeze but Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin described the move as fair.

Commenting on Muhyiddin’s statement, Haziq said it was “embarrassing” that even the country’s number two was supporting what Khaled and PTPTN did.

“It is very embarrassing that DPM is supporting what has been done to the Unisel students. What have the students done wrong?

“It is Anwar who said what he said, if you want to attack Anwar, then fine. Play politics with Anwar. But don’t play politics with the students, students are not politicians.

“This is an act of oppression,” he stressed.

‘Outright discrimination’

A student group from Unisel, Aksi Mahasiswa Peduli, said that so far, a lot of information remained sketchy over the issue.

The group’s secretary Ekhsan Bukharee Badarul Hisham described what happened as an “outright discrimination”.

“Education should not be politicised. And Khaled must be responsible over what is being done.

His tweet has also angered many students. So we have to now try to find a way to clear the mess that has been caused,” he added.

Yesterday, news reports revealed that the PTPTN froze its loans for new students enrolled at Unisel.

The freeze reportedly began last month, when fresh intakes started, and did not affect those already receiving loans.

Khaled had confirmed the freeze and said the decision was made following “political pressure” from the opposition over free education. He stressed that it was a temporary move.

Writting about the matter on micro-blogging site, Twitter, Khaled had said: “Unisel boleh hapuskan yuran, dgn sendirinya memenuhi matlamat pendidikan percuma dan penutupan PTPTN yg dilaungkan Anwar dan Pakatan, (Unisel can abolish its fees, thereby fulfilling the goal of free education and the closure of PTPTN as proclaimed by Anwar and Pakatan).

The move drew flak from opposition leaders, with Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim accusing PTPTN of discrimination and vowed to take the matter up to the federal government.

PKR’s strategy director Rafizi Ramly subsequently demanded Khaled to reveal if he ordered the freeze, alleging that the minister was most probably making a “childish” and “revengeful” move against Pakatan over the ongoing PTPTN issue.

The PTPTN issue had been raging for several months following PKR’s campaigning that the student loan scheme should be abolished to pave the way for free education.

Also read:

MCA, MIC disagree with PTPTN freeze


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