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PTPTN, a pawn in hands of politicians

 | June 17, 2012

Revolution may be the only way to make our so-called leaders think and reflect on who they are truly serving i.e. the rakyat or themselves.

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Vindictive! This aptly describes the Barisan Nasional federal government, which has no shame in stooping to despicable levels to achieve its agenda. Too many incidents have taken place that have proved the machinations of this government.

The latest of events however is by far the most pathetic of moves made by BN, or more precisely by none other than the deputy prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin.

This time the victims were none other than students of two universities managed by the Selangor state government. Selangor, once a BN-stronghold, fell into the hands of the opposition in the 2008 general election.

The June 6, 2012, political shenanigans by BN to freeze loans to the April intake, left some 1,000 fresh intakes in the lurch, giving these students of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Islamic University College (Kuis) sleepless nights, disrupting their concentration on their studies.

While the move to freeze the loan was made by the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), it however was allegedly masterminded by Muhyiddin who is also the Education Minister.

Muhyiddin is out to “teach” the Selangor government  led by Pakatan Rakyat a lesson when the latter claimed it wanted to repel the PTPTN and provide ‘pro bono’ education to students.

Sadly, the ‘freeze the loans’ decision was also backed by Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin.

But little did Muhyiddin and Khaled realise that their irresponsible action would backfire. As a result, the loans were restored three days later.

Muhyiddin’s deep-rooted revenge

Such  deep-rooted revenge shown by leaders like Muhyiddin and Khaled cannot be overlooked and needs to be arrested, by way of getting rid of such politicians who place political moves above the well-being of students.

Muhyiddin had the gall to justify the freeze, saying Khaled was “testing” the PKR-led Selangor government’s capability to offer free education to students.

“Khaled wants to find out if the Unisel students are really in need of PTPTN loans and how serious are the opposition-ruled states about offering free education,” Muhyiddin said.

The DPM said if the Higher Education Minister was satisfied that the students need PTPTN loans, it meant that the opposition’s call to abolish PTPTN was something unrealistic and does not take into consideration the interests of students.

Clearly, Muhyiddin is a preacher of “there are no free lunches” but then to punish the students just to make his point was unbecoming. Is that how leaders of a nation aspiring to achieve Vision 2020 behave?

The semantics of taking Malaysia to greater heights is only good as far as words go. Translating words into action is something leaders like Muhyiddin is far from capable of doing.

‘Freeze’ move bad publisity for Umno

Contrary to PTPTN chairperson Ismail Mohamed Said’s assertion that the freeze move pushed PKR to a corner, the act ended up being a bad publisity for Umno, the dominant party of BN which calls the shots in most issues.

Since when has Ismail been busy mixing politics with work or for that matter why is he busy apple-polishing his political masters? Like Muhyiddin, is Ismail too out to serve a motive?

Ismail’s smugness is worrying and equally worrying is his giving priority to  making his ‘bosses’ happy.

“During debates, PKR leaders boldly say that they want to abolish PTPTN and give free education to students. So, we tested them on Unisel. In three days, they (Selangor state government) asked us to restore the loans to students.

“Even Selangor menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim acknowledged that they can’t give free education to students at its own varsities,” Ismail gloated.

No doubt left that PTPTN has become a ‘pawn’ in the hands of politicians like Muhyiddin and whoever occupies the PTPTN chairperson’s responsibility-laden position.

Is Ismail feigning amnesia or is this MP for Kuala Krau too busy playing politics that he has forgotten the ‘freeze’ move was condemned by all, including those from the BN camp?

If Ismail is trying to paint a false picture that Selangor MB Khalid went begging at the doorstep of Umno to get the loans restored, then the former has failed.

Khalid instead took the ‘SOS’ approach by announcing that the Selangor government would  liquidate assets worth about RM30 million in order to help students of Unisel affected by the ‘freeze’.

“The Selangor government views with concern the difficulty faced by the new students of Unisel who have been victimised following the actions of the federal government and Higher Education Minister to freeze their PTPTN loans,” was how Khalid reacted.

Thankfully, the Selangor MB was not willing to stoop just as low as Muhyiddin and Khaled.

Malaysia’s evolution a distant dream

DPM Muhyiddin, who is also Umno deputy president, is sparing no effort in forcefully endorsing his “Malaysia for Malays only” agenda while his boss, prime minister Najib Tun Razak is going about claiming Malaysia needs evolution, not revolution.

Has Najib ever pondered what pushed the regular people to ‘rebel’  or partake in a revolution? It is precisely because of the abuse of authority and power as displayed by his DPM that go on to become ‘the last straw that breaks the camel’s back’, to proverbially put it.

In Muhyiddin’s case, it is cautiously depressing enough that he unabashedly keeps revealing his racist nature to the rakyat. Now, he has openly made it known that he has no qualms victimising anyone who dare think differently and who have the courage to ‘rock the boat’.

In the meantime, the Najib-Muhyiddin mindsets continue to clash, at the expense of the peace-loving Malaysians. And Najib’s ’1Malaysia’ propaganda proclaiming Malaysia as a country where its people regard themselves as ‘Malaysians first’  and by race, religion, geographical region or socio-economic background second continues to befuddle the rakyat.

To Najib, know that the nation’s true evolution can only happen when racist mindsets die a natural death, paving the way for holistic thinking to flourish. Until then, revolution might be the only way to make these so-called leaders think and reflect on who they are truly serving i.e. the rakyat or themselves.

Jeswan Kaur is a freelance writer and a FMT columnist.


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