Khaled stands by earlier decision to freeze PTPTN for Selangor
UPDATED @ 12:16:25 PM 12-06-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin today stood by his earlier decision to back the recent student loan freeze in Universiti Selangor (Unisel).
The higher education minister today refused to apologise for backing the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loan freeze and insisted Pakatan Rakyat (PR) could not deliver on its promise of free education.
Calling PR’s pledge of free education “just a mere promise”, Khaled (picture) said PR’s announcement to sell land owned by the university to raise RM30 million to help finance those being denied access to the student loans “is just an excuse to sell land”.
"The temporary freeze on PTPTN was for evaluation, we were going to lift it anyway. We only held back on loan forms," Khaled explained.
"It was to see what the state government would do to help the new students without the means of a PTPTN loan, that's why we froze it temporarily," he added.
Khaled pointed out if the temporary freeze could cause such uproar and dissent among the public, the repercussions of abolishing the loan could be far worse.
"We only froze the loan. They want PTPTN to be abolished completely. This would only bring more problems to students who need loans," he said.
"The whole incident shows the many problems in abolishing PTPTN."
On June 9, the federal government reversed its move to freeze student loans for Selangor-owned universities after it drew fierce criticism from PR politicians who were joined by some Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders fearing a political backlash.
It came just days after the freeze was first announced and a day after Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended as a “fair test” the move which was clearly aimed at laying bare PR’s campaign for free university education.
Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah also criticised the move early yesterday after Selangor had announced it would help those who could not access PTPTN loans.
PTPTN had confirmed earlier yesterday newly enrolled students at the Selangor Islamic University College (Kuis) were to join those in Unisel in being denied student loans.
But Saifuddin wrote on Twitter that “the Kuis rector has met me and I have informed the minister of his appeal that PTPTN loans not be frozen for his students. Kuis’ official letter will be sent shortly.”
The Temerloh MP also told The Malaysian Insider that he was awaiting a reply from Khaled after “informing him the freeze is being widely and strongly objected and seeks his good office to rescind it.”
The uproar over the freeze also led to BN Youth leaders voicing their disagreement, pointing out that the “test” was unnecessary as “it is clear Selangor cannot give free education.”
“Enough. Must stop. Morally wrong AND bad politics,” Khairy wrote on Twitter in response to the freeze on Kuis.
“I don’t want students becoming victims,” the Rembau MP also said earlier.
But these protests from members of the ruling coalition came after Selangor decided to raise RM30 million by selling land owned by Unisel to provide financial assistance to students who have been denied the loans.
An Umno leader told The Malaysian Insider that if Selangor were to succeed in funding the affected students, “it would mean they have passed the test” set by Muhyiddin.