SHAH ALAM: The nation’s leaders must step down for their failure to carry out their responsibilities to the Malaysian education system, says student activist Fahmi Zainol.
“Why does the government waste money on private jets for ministers, but not spend money on students? Why does Najib Razak approve the building of the tallest building in Malaysia, but not sponsor brilliant students to study overseas?” said Fahmi at the People’s Congress here today.
Fahmi, who heads the PKR Youth student bureau, lamented that the Malaysian education system had become the victim of the government’s spendthrift decisions.
“There have been reports of how university students don’t have enough to eat. Eighty per cent of our students don’t have enough to eat and need help from the authorities,” he claimed. “How then can our government leaders call them spoiled?”
“Students can be independent. My friends in (the University of Malaya) work part time at shopping complexes, KFC, and so on. They struggle in and out of the classroom,” said Fahmi. “Their PTPTN loans aren’t enough – and after they graduate, they’re stuck with loans of RM40,000 to RM50,000. They’re left unable to get loans for cars, houses, or even to leave the country.”
He questioned the status of investigations into the RM2.6 billion political donation received by Najib Razak.
Fahmi also accused the government of restricting academic freedom, pointing to the harassment of students and lecturers at UM by the authorities for their criticism of the government. “We cannot forget people like Aziz Bari, Izwan Osman, not least (associate professior) Azmi Sharom, who was hit with the Sedition Act for presenting his views,” Fahmi said.