Gerakan Youth is against the PTPTN protest
Kuala Lumpur, April 16: Gerakan Youth Secretary General Dr. Dominic Lau is disagree with the protest by undergraduates that calls for the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans to be abolished and Malaysians be given free tertiary education. Since PTPTN was established on 1997 under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation Act 1997, 1,926,054 students were benefited for the past 15 years according to a statement Ministry of Higher Education.
“In my opinion, PTPTN helps many students especially those from a poor family as well as those who failed to obtain scholarship or loan from any Chinese clan associations and social organisations to further study in the university, PTPTN has certainly fulfilled the dream of many youths to pursue their tertiary education by solving their financial woe,” said Dr. Dominic Lau who was previously an Associate Professor in UTM and currently an Associate Professor in UCSI.
In fact, a big portion of the educational loan under the PTPTN is being used to cover the daily living expenses of an undergraduate whilst the actual tuition fees only hold a small portion over the sum of the loan given especially for those in the public universities. Besides, Dr. Dominic Lau also pointed out that PTPTN gives exemption from loan repayment to undergraduates who complete their bachelor’s degree studies with excellence first class honours. While for the rest, loan repayment only commences 6 months after completion of studies or graduation which relieves the financial burden of the fresh graduates. Therefore Gerakan Youth sees no problems with the current implementation of PTPTN.
Apart from this, PTPTN also offers to convert the existing loan interest rate from 3% to 1% Ujrah and it is eligible to all existing borrowers who maintain a PTPTN loan balance at 1 June 2008. Dominic Lau opines that if the undergraduates still found the 1% is overburdening to them, then Gerakan Youth would suggest that the government should consider absorbing the 1% interest rate and further levitating the fresh graduates from their financial burden upon their graduation. Besides that, Gerakan Youth also feels that the way PTPTN blacklisting defaulted borrowers may be too harsh to be accepted by the youths who are university graduates and led to strong displeasure among them. In this regard, Gerakan Youth would suggest the authority to consider another method to encourage the defaulted borrowers to be committed on their loan repayment instead of imposing harsh sanction by blacklisting them from travelling abroad.
Gerakan Youth is disagree that PTPTN loans should be abolished, according to the Deputy Prime Minister cum Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, the government bears between 85% and 95% of the tuition fee subsidy to ease the burden of students at public institutions of higher learning. The undergraduates should be aware of the subsidies provided by the government at the moment and strive for academic excellence out of the opportunities given.
“Those undergraduates who were protesting and called for the abolishment of PTPTN and free tertiary education for all Malaysians were probably under influenced and incited by the opposition and Anwar Ibrahim, I strongly believe that they are not depicting the majority of the undergraduates, PTPTN is still very much relevant and needed by the students to further study in the universities especially those from a poor family as well as those intended to enrol in the private universities and colleges (IPTS),” said Dr. Dominic Lau.
“Protest is not our culture, undergraduates should channel their views through the student councils to the Ministry of Higher Education,” added Dr. Dominic Lau.