Rafizi's remarks on loan freeze is baffling (Graphic by Dayang Norazhar/ The Mole)
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) move to lift its loan freeze on two Selangor-owned higher learning institutions was received with relief by a Pakatan Rakyat leader who was in the forefront fighting for the abolishment of the study loan.
Parti Keadilan Rakyat strategic director Rafizi Ramli in a statement on Friday said the PTPTN’s unofficial statement to lift the loan freeze is welcomed with relief.
He also warned Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin not to jeopardise the students’ future for Umno’s political mileage.
“As a person who is responsible in ordering the PTPTN loan freeze, he should guarantee that PTPTN will not freeze any financing to any institution or student who is qualified,” he added.
Rafizi’s reaction was inconsistent with the announcement he made during a forum involving student activist groups Mahasiswa Independen (KAMI) and Aksi Mahasiswa Peduli (AKSI) at Shah Alam on Monday.
He had announced that university students will be given RM5,000 annually to replace the PTPTN.
A blog post at Malaysians Must Know The Truth stated the forum was intended to explain the policies behind PKR's proposal to abolish the PTPN and offer free education.
“Rafizi said that the current situation is not sustainable,” the post read.
In April Rafizi had also issued a statement stating that the country is able to abolish PTPTN as the government will have to bear higher cost in the future if it still continues with the scheme.
On Thursday PTPTN announced in a statement that it will temporarily freeze the loan fund to Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Selangor International Islamic University College (KUIS) as it believed the state government is committed in providing free education to its students thus its fund will not be needed.
“In addition, there was a statement made by Selangor Economic Adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who urged the loan borrowers not to pay PTPTN and this will affect PTPTN’s finance as it will be used to support students’ loan, including those from Unisel,” the statement read.
However Sinar Harian reported on Friday PTPTN chairman Datuk Ismail Mohamed confirmed lifting the freeze against the institutions on grounds that Selangor is unable to provide free education.
Another blogger known as Aiman Amani wrote the decision to freeze PTPTN loan in Selangor should be celebrated by people who supported the abolishment of the fund.
“Unisel is a Selangor-owned university which is under the opposition’s rule. Since PKR is openly criticising the government for implementing PTPTN, why are they complaining when PTPTN is not offered to PKR’s Selangor-owned university? Isn’t it what they had been fighting for?
“But instead, PKR’s director of strategy, Rafizi Ramli, made a press statement saying that “Khaled (Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin) should resign from his post if he had instructed the PTPTN freeze on Unisel’s students”.
“Pretty baffling indeed, since for the opposition leaders especially those from PKR, (who said) PTPTN is nothing but a burden that caused students to be in debt even before getting their first salary.”