Unlike the DPM who thinks the freezing of PTPTN loans is fair, the Umno Youth chief says the future of students should not be put at risk.
The Rembau MP’s stand was in contradiction with Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s remark that it was a fair decision.
Khairy called for the immediate reinstatement of the National Higher Education (PTPTN) loans for Unisel students.
“I don’t want the students to be victimised by any party trying to prove a point. It’s obvious that the Selangor state government cannot provide free education at its own university.
“If that was the point that wanted to be made, it’s done,” he told FMT.
Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin had said the freeze was in response to Pakatan Rakyat’s claim that it would abolish PTPTN and provide free education if it took over the federal government.
Pakatan’s claim had drawn flak from government leaders, who argued that it would be impossible to scrap the fund and labelled it as a populist measure.
But Pakatan leaders argued that the loans could be offset with the income generated by national petroleum giant Petronas.
Even Khairy had engaged in a debate with PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli over the feasibility of the plan, which the former argued could bankrupt the nation.
‘Don’t risk students’ future’
Despite his stand, the Umno Youth chief told FMT that the future of students should not become a pawn in a political chess match.
“We are talking about innocent students here who need the loans from PTPTN to continue their studies. I don’t think we should be risking their future for politics.
“I call on the government and PTPTN to reinstate the loan facility immediately for the Unisel students,” he reiterated.
Student groups had also threatened to take to the streets over the freeze, criticising both Khaled and Muhyiddin for their stand on the matter.
MIC and MCA leaders also voiced their disagreement, leading observers to quiz if this was a Cabinet decision or if the higher education minister had acted on his own accord.
And while Muhyiddin had made his position clear, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak had yet to respond.
Meanwhile, the Pakatan-controlled Selangor government announced that it would liquidate assets worth about RM30 million in order to help students in Unisel whose loans had been frozen.
In a related development, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department SK Devamany also called on the concerned parties to put an end to this tussle and not jeopardise the students’ future.
“The issue has become morally wrong at this juncture, the students in Unisel should be allowed to purse their education in peace.
“The tug of war will only create more problems for the students. The matter has turned into a political war and this is not healthy for education,” the MIC vice-president told FMT.