Unisel disagrees with state policies, says minister
UPDATED @ 12:24:14 PM 12-06-2012
KUALA LUMPUR, June 12 — The National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loan freeze on Universiti Selangor (Unisel) was lifted because the university disagreed with Pakatan Rakyat (PR) policies, Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin alleged today.
“We had received a letter from Unisel admitting that the university does not condone the abolishment of PTPTN and that the loan is very important for students to have the opportunity to study,” the higher education minister told a press conference today after opening the world engineering, science and technology congress (ESTCON 2012) here.
“They said it was also an offence for students to participate in demonstrations for the abolishment of PTPTN,” Khaled (picture) added.
Khaled also dismissed 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, saying the move “is just an excuse to sell land and not to introduce free education".
"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 claimed the federal government had "said many times that the loan is very important, but they don't want to believe".
"They say 'abolish PTPTN, let's go for demonstrations', and when we freeze the loan you come out with all sorts of statements to say we have betrayed the students," he said.
"That should be used against them. We did not have the intention to betray the students but to see are you going to do it or not," he added, referring to the implementation of free education.
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.