Hornbill Unleashed

April 20, 2012

The struggle of undergraduates

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
Tags: , , ,

Lim Sue Goan

Undergraduates have pitched tents and staged a sit-in at Dataran Merdeka to demand for free tertiary education. The move has triggered a polarised reaction.

Taxpayers think that the demand is unreasonable. As they have been paying so much tax and if the country provides free tertiary education, the income tax rates might be increased.

The Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) pointed out, however, that abolishing the Higher Education Corporations Loan Fund (PTPTN) and wiping out student debt under the scheme would not cost RM44 billion as claimed by the government, but under RM25 billion, which is affordable for the government.

The ruling and opposition coalitions have also taken the opportunity to attack each other. Regardless of the results, there are two points worth pondering.

The money distribution policies of the opposing coalitions have led to populism and the people have also been “spoiled”, as if a Pandora’s box has been opened.

The Selangor Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government provides free water and shopping vouchers, and the Penang state government distributes aid of RM100 annually to each senior citizen in the state. The Barisan Nasional (BN) government is even more generous. It distributed RM500 BR1M aid, RM100 allowance to some 5.5 million school-students and RM200 book vouchers to students in public and private local institutions of higher education, matriculation and Form Six.

After distributing the RM200 1 Malaysia book vouchers to undergraduates, the government is planning to distribute discount cards. However, not many people appreciate the gesture. Instead, they are asking for more.

An Indian man involved in assaulting Selangor exco member Ean Yong Hian Wah accused him of not helping the Indian community. It is not the main factor of the storm; however, the people’s irrational demands are worrying.

To gain votes, the Selangor state government allocates RM5 million for the state’s new micro-credit scheme for plantation women (WALA). BN has also launched many similar loan schemes. The question is, who is going to oversee the loan amortisation rate?

After getting more and more aid, the people will ask for more without thinking whether their demands are reasonable and whether the government can afford it. Once such a situation takes place, the country and its people would have to pay the price, no matter who will be the government in the future.

Another worrying phenomenon is the gradual decline of society’s sense of responsibility.

Leaders of the alternative coalition have talked through their hats for votes. They said that after deducting RM5 billion for free education from the RM80 billion Petronas profit, there is still RM75 billion left. However, they did not mention the payment for the 1.4 million civil servants and other expenses.

Of course, not only leaders from the alternative coalition are irresponsible. What is actually going on when Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd reached an out-of-court settlement with former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) executive chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli concerning a civil suit over RM589 million in debts?

The PTPTN management is also a mess. The Auditor-General Report exposed that the PTPTN has actually approved the issuance of loans to over 26,000 non-citizens.

Politicians and government officials did not show a good example and young people have been affected. Therefore, it is not surprising to see some undergraduates actually tried to resell their book vouchers on the Internet.

The PTPTN is expected to have a RM48 billion deficit by the year 2020 if existing borrowers do not repay their loans. The amount is 3.84 times that of the RM12.5 billion debt of the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) project.

After the protest, many people could plausibly refuse to repay their education loans and as a result, the Treasury will have to foot the bad debts, and the people will be the ones to pay the bill.

In a nutshell, a struggle without the support of the public would be futile.

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5 Comments »

  1. PTPTN can just link up with EPF and if those students are employed and reached a salary scale, then they only need to pay back their loan and pro-rata to their pay.

    Comment by CHEW EL — April 20, 2012 @ 5:14 PM | Reply

  2. Limit PTPTN loan to STPM holders only!

    Isn’t it a logic solution?

    Just limit PTPTN loan to STPM holders only for university bachelor degree programmes. Currently PTPTN simply give out to anybody to pursue tertiary education that’s why it cost RM46 billion and 1.9 million graduates (and half still jobless and bankrupt) so far.

    From STPM results and select only with 3 pass or above (with just less than 5,000 top STPM made the cut annually) surely govt able to provide free university education for those eligible and committed to study.

    STPM proven to be very tough all-rounder exam and shows not many choose it after SPM can only reaffirm its status only to those truly committed in studying.

    With STPM as direct prerequisite to enter public university and eligible PTPN loans, students will fight it out in open competition to get this strict and truly merit-based system.

    Universities will benefit as it will receive only the best qualified and committed batch of STPM holders thus improve their overall rankings with quality undergraduates produced.

    Quality undergraduates produced means the employment sector also benefits with jobseekers assured themselves with proven merits to get the job offered.

    So what can go wrong with these new system? Only for those lazy students that corrupting and abusing the system via Matriculation and milking PTPTN easy money of course! Best of all it will make SPM redundant which no longer accepted for pre-university programmes (then run-up to diploma level before entering degree programme).

    Since STPM made mandatory for all then Matriculation should be abolished to let everybody compete in one single common STPM exam. Furthermore Matriculation make no financial sense to Sarawak parents that wasted so much money sending their kids to Labuan Matriculation when STPM offer the same route to university entrance! Don’t forget the RM billions saved from closing such Matriculation centres nationwide!

    Yes EPF money can be saved too as PTPTN no longer borrowing silly money from EPF only to give joke interest to EPF holders (except before election looming lah). And yes also RM billions can be saved from jobless graduate re-training schemes to make them employable (which they’re not supposed to be graduated at first place).

    Best of all, those dubious substandard colleges (owned by Kronies) that targeting unsuspecting rural students cheating them to sign for PTPTN loans (but given whatever crap degree) will be reduced closed down for good! Look at these leeching colleges sprouting their advertisements next to school after SPM result…don’t fall trap for it!

    So there you have it:
    1. Go fight your own lives at common single STPM exam. Survival test for everybody regardless of status, religion, Bumi and all that crap.
    2. Pass and get free university study expenses paid by PTPTN.

    Simple as that.

    Can govt afford it? Why not for 5,000 STPM top holders instead of Cows crap, floating submarines, crazy rasuah costs etc!
    ________________

    PTPTN: We’ve given out RM37b since our start
    Malaysian Insider, December 25, 2010

    TEMERLOH, Dec 25 — The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) has given out RM37 billion in loans to students since its establishment in 1997 until November this year.

    Its chairman Datuk Ismail Mohamed Said said with the loans, 1.7 million students were able to further their studies at public and private higher learning institutions.

    “However, only 77 per cent of the recipients repay their loans after completing their studies,” he said after presenting school uniforms and bags to excellent students as well as poor students in the Kuala Krau parliamentary constituency, here, today.

    He lamented that 191,262 borrowers had never paid back their loans despite being issued with several reminders and summons notices.

    “Voluntary repayment of loans through salary deductions, bank standing instructions and online is seen to be ineffective.

    “So we hope the proposed amendments to the PTPTN Act 1997, making it compulsory for borrowers to repay their study loans through salary deductions, can be implemented from next year,” he said.

    Ismail said for this year, PTPTN targeted to receive RM5 billion in loan repayments but until November, only RM4.8 billion was received. — Bernama
    ________________

    MTUC queries EPF’s RM2b bailout of PTPTN
    by P. Selvarani, Malay Mail, 22 Feb 2005

    PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is concerned over the use of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to bail out financially-troubled Government agencies and companies.

    Referring to the RM2 billion loan from the EPF to the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN), MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said the authorities should have employed other ways to resolve the problem without digging into the EPF funds.

    “Although the EPF is one of the biggest pension funds in the world, it should not be used as a cash cow to bail out financially troubled Government agencies or companies.

    “While we sympathise with the students who need financial aid, it is the responsibility of the Government to find the money to help finance their education,” Syed Shahir told The Malay Mail yesterday.

    “They should have another mechanism to deal with the problem of non-payment of loans and not turn to the EPF to bail the PTPTN out.”

    The New Straits Times had on Saturday reported that the PTPTN had to borrow RM2 billion from the EPF in 2003 to provide loans to students.

    PTPTN chief executive officer Datuk Othman Jusoh had said this was because students were not repaying their loans.

    He also said the organisation had not received any allocation from the Government since 2003.

    It was reported earlier that graduates owed the Government more than RM7 billion. As of Dec 31 last year, the PTPTN had only collected RM93 million.

    The MTUC also questioned the terms on which the loan was given.

    “RM2 billion is not a small sum. We want to know at what interest rate the loan was given. What guarantee is there the loan would be repaid considering that the PTPTN has admitted that it does not have the money and has difficulty recovering the loans from students.

    “The Government has also stopped its allocation. What are the chances of the EPF getting its money back? We are concerned about this,” Syed Shahir said.

    He said this was one of the reasons the MTUC was asking the EPF to be transparent in its dealings, especially pertaining to its investments and “unrealised losses”.

    “Everything must be above board. If they can prove that after investing the money in a proper way, they still cannot get good returns, that’s fine, we can accept it.

    “But if they used it to bail out companies and agencies, that is not acceptable,” he said.

    The MTUC general council, which met on Sunday, is also seeking higher representation in the EPF board.

    It wants half of the 20-member EPF board to be worker representatives.

    Currently, there are only five worker representatives on the board – four from the MTUC and one from Cuepacs.

    The rest of the board comprises five representatives from the employers, five from the Government, three investment experts, the chairman and the CEO of the EPF.

    “Right now, the composition of the board does not reflect the representation of the contributors. As the bulk of the contributors, the workers should have a bigger role in the decision-making process of the fund,” he said.
    _______________

    115 PTPTN loan defaulters charged with bankruptcy
    by Wong Yeen Fern, Malaysia Kini, Thursday, 22 February 2007

    The National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) will take several thousands of former students to court over their failure to settle their study loans.

    Contacted today, PTPTN chief executive officer Yunos Abdul Ghani said these students had not settled their debts despite three legal notices being issued.

    “Students from the 1997-2004 batch will face court action for failing to pay their loans following a (third) legal notice being sent to them,” he added.

    He said the former students who received the third legal notice were required to settle their debts within two weeks.

    Yunos reiterated that those who cannot afford to do so should come forward and explain their situation. He said they should provide valid evidence and logical reasons.

    Declare bankrupt

    As for those who did not receive the legal notices, he said these students should get in touch with the PTPTN.

    “For instance, if they have changed their address, they should have inform us about it, because it is their duty to inform us, if not we will never know,” he added.

    He said those who did not receive the legal notices must settle their debts or face legal action as well.

    Meanwhile, Nanyang Siang Pau reported yesterday that 115 students had been charged in court over this issue.

    Yunos said PTPTN will consider having those who still refuse to pay as being declared bankrupt but stressed that it would be the last resort.

    About RM600 million was loaned out to the first batch of students in 1997 and of this only RM270 million has been successfully collected from these students.

    As for the overall figures, Yunos said PTPTN is still processing this.

    The financial aid programme was established in 1997 and is mainly focused on students who have gained admission to local universities but are unable to further their studies due to financial constraints.
    _______________

    300,000 youths still actively looking for jobs
    RM500 million to re-train youths
    Malaysia Kini, Saturday, 26 March 2011

    Some 300,000 youths nationwide are still actively looking for jobs, says Deputy Human Resource Minister Maznah Mazlan. Some are already employed but are looking for better jobs which offered better pay, Deputy Human Resource Minister Maznah Mazlan said in Jalau, Sarawak today.

    She had earlier launched the Meluan state constituency’s Sarawak Youth Carnival 201l at the Meradong/Julau District Council Carpark, aimed at helping jobless youths. “Jobless youths should register online with the jobsmalaysia portal. There are currently about 500,000 vacancies advertised on the website by some 30,000 employers and most of them are in the service and production sector,” she told Bernama after the function.

    “Through this free portal, you can search for the job you desire and even apply online if you come across one that interest you. But my advise is for them to check the portal regularly to see if there was response from potential employers or if their applications had been successful.” She said some 3,413 youth in the state had registered themselves with it and up to February this year, some 628 had found the jobs they wanted.

    Unemployment at manageable level

    On the problem of unemployment among youths in the country she said it was at still at manageable level. She added a small number of them were overly choosy in their preferences based on studies made by local universities on the marketability of their graduates.

    “Some shun what they consider lowly paid jobs in relation to their academic qualification. Others want jobs that are available locally and do not want to be transferred to the Peninsular, for instance,” she said. Maznah said under the Tenth Malaysia Plan, the government had set aside RM500 million to train youths in various skills training in over 300 training centres nationwide.- Bernama

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — April 20, 2012 @ 2:17 PM | Reply

  3. Students who took PTPTN loans and have yet to repay their loans could be under tremendous pressure when they could not gain employment with a decent salary. Their frustration could be further expounded when they learned that many BN’s cronies or even ministers owed the government hundreds of million in loan or grant. Some cronies even had their loans and grants written off!

    Students’ demand for free tertiary education is a legitimate demand and should be viewed positively by tax payers since the UMNO controlled BN government has squandered and plundered hundreds of billion over the past 30 years. A competent, efficient and corrupt free government would have an effective mechanism and an education foundation to ensure our students especially the poor receive free tertiary education.

    The authority and agent to certain political party should not resort to intimidation and violence to stop these disgruntled students and protesters from expressing and showing their disapproval and unhappiness on regressive government policies .

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 20, 2012 @ 4:45 AM | Reply

    • Tajuddin Ramli, UMNOputras and BN cronies must first repay every single cent they owed to the government if ever the BN government wanted those who had obtained PTPTN loans to repay. The BN government biggest mistake was to force PTPTN loans down the throat of the borrowers while bailing out and writing off billions of loans and grants given to BN cronies.

      Comment by SK Subramaniam — April 20, 2012 @ 10:05 AM | Reply

  4. That’s right Umno/Bn,go ahead,knock the shit out of those poor students head,use your paid goons n then pretend that your hands are clean,please that Stupid Higher Education Minstral,don’t insult my intelligence,now the students will come out in droves,don’t you smart asses ever learn anything about regimes being disposed in Middle Eastern countries????? Huuh,stupid idiots you lot,wait till 28th this month n you can see what your smart asshole advisors suggested using iron fisted methods to deal with your future generation,n then wonder out loud where you when wrong, God…. I’m so Malu to be call Malaysian,Ya Allah SWT,turunkan Bala kepada yg menzalimi kaum mereka sendiri,Turunkan Ya Allah,kerana aku redhai kehendak Mu,Ya Allah

    Comment by Lok1 — April 20, 2012 @ 12:44 AM | Reply


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