A test for S’gor govt to provide free education

Khaled Nordin wants to find out how serious are the opposition-ruled states about offering free education, says Muhyiddin Yassin.

(Bernama) – Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said today that the freezing of loans of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) to new students of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) is to test the ability of the Selangor government to provide free higher education.

He said Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin is believed to be testing the PKR-led Selangor government’s capability to do this as PKR was figting for the elimination of PTPTN loans on the grounds that higher education should be free.

“They (PKR) talk without knowing what they are talking about. Now it has come back to haunt them and they realise that what they promised was not right. But knowing them, they will never admit their mistakes,” he told reporters when asked to comment on the freezing of PTPTN loans to the new intake of students at Unisel.

Earlier, he had attended a “meet-the-people” session organised by the Federation of Non-Governmental Organisations at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Taman Melawati here.

Unisel is a higher education institution owned by the Selangor government.

PTPTN was recently reported to have frozen its loans to the new intake of students at Unisel in April to give an opportunity to the opposition to prove its capability of providing free higher education, which they have been clamouring for.

Muhyiddin, who us also Education Minister, however, said he believed Khaled would give due consideration on the matter in the interest of the future of the students affected.

“Khaled wants to find out if the Unisel students are really in need of PTPTN loans and how serious are the opposition-ruled states about offering free education,” he said.

Muhyiddin said if the Higher Education Minister was satisfied that the students do need PTPTN loans, it meant that the opposition’s call to abolish PTPTN was something unrealistic and does not take into consideration the interests of students.

He also reminded the opposition not to over-politicise educational matters by “peddling” stories that the federal government should implement free higher education for Malaysians.

He said the opposition should be more responsible and not make promises that could confuse people with offers that cannot be realised.

“In this world nothing is free. When there is something for free, there is someone who will have to bear the cost. If PKR says higher education should be free, who will pay teachers’ salaries, who will buy the books, who will bear these costs?

“Does PKR have the resources that come from the sky which they will use to fund free education? Or if free, they will raise taxes, which in the end means the people still have to pay for it. It’s all political,” he said, adding that the opposition’s aim in calling for free higher education was merely to garner support even if the action jeopardised the country’s future.