Published: Saturday June 9, 2012 MYT 1:18:00 PM
Khaled: Unisel's appeal proves PTPTN is needed
By DESIREE TRESA GASPER
JOHOR BARU: The appeal made by Universiti Selangor (Unisel) to lift the freeze on National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans for its new students proves that the loan is relevant and needed.
Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said that the decision to freeze the loans was made to determine if the Selangor would be able to provide free education for students in its state owned university.
"Groups of students including those from Unisel have been insisting on the abolishment of the PTPTN loans and have even taken to the streets to demonstrate.
"The reason why we made the decision is to see if they could really provide free education and if they were really not in need of the PTPTN loan," he said during a press conference after attending an agricultural motivational course organised by the Pasir Gudang parliamentary constituency here on Saturday.
Mohamed Khaled said that that the appeal letter by Unisel's vice-chancellor Prof Dr Anuar Ahmad incorporated various points including the university's disappointment with a small number of students who took part in the demonstration at Dataran Merdeka to abolish the PTPTN loan.
"The letter also stated that Unisel was not in agreement with the views of the said students and said that they may have been influenced by other university students to act in that manner.
"They also pleaded for the freeze to be lifted as their students needed the loan," he said adding that the temporary freeze was then lifted after considering the appeal letter.
"Abolishing PTPTN and providing free tertiary education is not that easy.
"The Opposition needs to think about how to deal with repaying the RM4bil that has already been settled by students and RM29bil owed by PTPTN to the banks," he said adding that encouraging students to refrain from settling loans would also result in about 400,000 new students not having access to it.
"The Opposition says that they want to provide free tertiary education but until today Selangor does not even provide subsidised fees for students studying in Unisel," he said.
When asked if PTPTN could resort to freezing loans for students applying to Opposition owned universities if more demonstrations were conducted in future, Mohamed Khaled said that "it would depend on the circumstance".
"We now know that abolishing PTPTN loans is all just political talk but I cannot predict what actions will be taken in the future," he said while declining to elaborate further.