‘A promise is a promise’? Pakatan and PTPTN

So “a promise is a promise” but “a legal agreement to repay your loans is not a legal agreement to repay your loans”?

Alwyn Lau, The Malay Mail Online

Imagine if someone goes into a restaurant, eats a large meal, walks out without paying, then gets self-righteously upset when the restaurant owner says, “Sorry, sir, but I’ll need to do a monthly deduction for your bill because unfortunately you have to pay for your meal.”

Now imagine thousands of patrons doing so.

Now think about the PTPTN scenario the country is facing. So many students appear to have taken those loans with the expectation that it’s really a free lunch (and a big one at that).

That’s the problem with Malaysia, isn’t it? It’s the pseudo-belief that I am entitled to a government hand-out even though, by law, it’s stated that I must repay the loan.

The double irony occurs because for years and years, our government has reciprocated that crazy belief i.e. they have also behaved as if students are (informally? unofficially?) entitled to a free education.

To use the above analogy, this is like a restaurant manager running his “business” whilst expecting some patrons to not have to pay.

You often see this situation in companies as well. Everybody “knows” that certain directors are acting like prima donnas. These are the people who are essentially paid big sums to do nothing except throw their weight around, talk big, apportion blame and take all the credit. Yet the big bosses don’t get rid of them.

Why not? Because, after so many years, it has become psychologically easier to live with the nonsense than to actually own up to it. The latter, of course, logically demands that one has to deal with it, too.

Ditto, the PTPTN.

Unless the non-repaying borrowers involved are mentally ill (and therefore can’t be managed), the country has no choice but to set up firm structures to rein loan defaulters in.

To fail to do so would mean injustice to a) those who have already paid, b) future students who need the loans (but can’t get them because, say, the programme may have to be scrapped or made even stricter).

In other words, the PTPTN mirrors this “two-tier” system in which some people don’t have to follow the rules and are, instead, continually subsidised by those people who do.

Things are even worse when the former group gets hot under the collar each time mention of loan repayment is made. Again, as many people have noted, there is deeply ingrained sense of entitlement to not only not have to toe the line but to not have to be TOLD to toe the line as well.

This is why I think those (PTPTN borrowers or not) who are pissed with Pakatan Harapan for not fulfilling their election manifesto promises over this issue are missing the point.

By all means hold the government accountable for their pledges but not when this involves exonerating a culture of entitlement.

To be blunt, promising to defer PTPTN repayments until a person’s salary hits RM4,000 was a stupid promise anyway (see Note 1), because it meant allowing a legal contract to be reneged on plus, as noted, retroactively “penalising” those who repaid their loans faithfully. You see the joke?

People are upset because one party cannot fulfil a non-legal agreement which allows another party to break a legal agreement.

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