An angry Malaysian youth’s voice

It is downright inhumane that in the debate over the PTPTN issue, one side resorted to temporarily freezing the loans of some students in an attempt to prove a political point. 

(FMT) – The past few months have been undoubtedly one of the most stressful periods of my life. How so? It’s because I am currently sitting for my final A-level papers before departing for university.

Having taken into consideration possible university options, compiled a portfolio, applied for placements and received my offers, my parents and I underwent much stress as we embarked on one of the greatest decisions I might ever have to make.

The process of exam revision over the recent months had been immensely taxing as I strove to secure those pesky university target grades. Such are the stresses and pressure that youths like me have to endure in the hopes of securing our placements at universities, so we can acquire and develop the skills necessary to perform in our future vocations.

Hypothetically, let’s say, I end up at the university of my choice. I would be ecstatic knowing that my perseverance has finally paid off, relieved to know that I no longer have to face the stresses of A-levels, and avid to learn more about the profession I intend to pursue.

Unfortunately, I am required to take a student loan as a result of my family’s inability to finance my higher education. What if midway through university, I find my loan frozen? How would I feel, after having toiled so much before? How would my family be able to deal with this situation?

These were possibly the very questions faced by the students at Universiti Selangor (Unisel) recently, upon the freezing of their National Higher Education Loan Corporation (PTPTN) loans.

Using the young as political pawns

The PTPTN has caused much debate on both sides of the political divide, with either side attempting to prove itself right.

One side, however, was seemingly more desperate than the other – so much so, that it resorted to temporarily freezing the loans of some students in an attempt to prove a political point. Though the freeze is over and the students need not worry any longer, certain individuals have began to reveal their true colours.

The temporary freeze has shown us that certain elected representatives are willing to use the young as political pawns. Indeed, this was not the first time that the young of our country were used in such a way.

The teaching and learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI) issue saw the children of our nation being used as political tools as well – in the “name of patriotism” – despite the relevant authorities being well aware of the importance of the English language, as a result of increasing globalisation. In a democracy, the job of an elected representative is to ensure the happiness and future prosperity of those they represent.

The young of Malaysia are the embodiment of our country’s future, and the temporary PTPTN freeze has shown total disregard by some elected representatives towards the very people that represent our nation’s future – just to prove a political point. Is this Najib Tun Razak’s idea of the “best democracy in the world?”

The freeze has also shown us that certain individuals are capable of showing complete disregard for the feelings and futures of our young as and whenever it pleases them. Evidently these people showed no respect for those affected by the temporary loan freeze. They failed to consider that they were potentially jeopardising the futures of potential doctors and engineers – students who toiled and worked hard in order to enrol at Unisel.

And what about the financial security of these students’ families? By choosing to act unannounced, they could have potentially harmed their financial positions – especially since many of these families possess inadequate wealth. Why bother hosting a big festival for your youths in Putrajaya, when you show complete disregard for their futures and families just weeks later? Is this your idea of “People First, Performance Now?”

Where are you Najib?

The stress students go through when working towards university is immense. The pressures families endure as a result of financial constrictions are immense. Some families save years of their income to finance the education of their children.

The fact that certain authorities are capable of unexpectedly freezing the loans of certain students to prove a political point just goes to show that the futures of these students and the well-being of their families are of little worth in their eyes.