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Loans unfreezed, PKR blames Umno tussle

 | June 8, 2012

PTPTN loans will now be disbursed to students at two Selangor-run institutions. But is there more to this controversy than what meets the eye?

FULL REPORT

PETALING JAYA:  Coming under intense criticism, the National Higher Education Loan Fund (PTPTN) has lifted the freeze on loans for two Selangor-run tertiary institutions.

This was confirmed by Universiti Selangor (Unisel) director Faekah Hussin.

In a text message to FMT, the political secretary to Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim also claimed that the issue arose due to a tussle between the camps of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Muhyiddin Yassin.

“It seems that the decision by (Higher Education Minister) Khaled (Nordin) was made out of anger and the students’ welfare was put at stake.

“Obviously, it was not a battle between the federal and state governments but rather between Najib and Muhiyiddin’s teams,” she said.

“Muhyiddin, (Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister) Noh Omar and Khaled would do anything to fail Najib’s transformation programme, what more with Najib being the Selangor Umno chairman,” she added.

Faekah also stressed that the state government would deliver its best for the people, be it in the spheres of education or economy.

Rift in Umno?

Yesterday, Khaled said the freeze was a result of Pakatan Rakyat’s claim that it would abolish the PTPTN and provide free education if it formed the federal government.

Muhyiddin later described the move as fair.

However, the freeze drew flak from various quarters, including Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin as well as MCA and MIC leaders.

These leaders argued that the future of students should not be compromised in the political tussle between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan.

Najib had yet to respond over the freeze, which observers claimed lent credence to the speculation that tension was brewing in Umno.

This morning, a tweet by Umno Youth’s PTPTN roundtable also confirmed that the freeze had been lifted.

“Good news! For the sake of the rakyat, PTPTN agreed to give loans to Unisel students. Please spread the news!” read the tweet.

Apart from Unisel, the other institution slapped with a loan freeze was the Islamic University College (Kuis).

‘State government incapable’

Meanwhile, PTPTN chairman Ismail Mohamed Said, who confimed the lifting of the loan suspension, said the freeze was lifted because the Selangor government was seen as not able to provide free education in the state.

“We believe Selangor which is administered by Pakatan Rakyat cannot provide free education even though they keep claiming they can.

“We see it the other way and in this matter, those who become the victims are the students. We also received a lot of response on the matter especially from parents to lift the freeze.

“They said if PPTPTN continued with the freeze, their children would be forced to drop out because they would not be able to bear the cost of their studies,” he said when contacted by Bernama here today.

As such, he said Unisel students could submit applications for study loans from PTPTN and that each application would be processed as normal.

“Higher Education Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin has sent a letter to Unisel on the lifting of the freeze and its students can make applications for PTPTN loans as normal,” he said.

Also read:

Don’t victimise students, says Khairy


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