We all have heard it in the news recently, that the Pakatan Rakyat announces that it will abolish the National Higher Education Fund or the Perbadanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional (PTPTN) loans once they come into power.
On the other hand, the government says the announcement is populist and can never be done thus it’s not a responsible promise to make.
We all know that we can only trust the mainstream media only when it comes to sports news (as long as it’s not local), so how feasible it is for the government to repay all the PTPTN loans for us?
This is the discussion for today.
How much do ex students owe PTPTN?
Well according to the government it is RM 43 Billion but according to claims by the Pakatan Rakyat it is only RM 28 Billion. So, which value should we take? Well it doesn’t really matter because it’s not the real issue.
Arguments for the motion
Among the arguments that support the motion are:
- The country can actually afford it, if there was less corruption and wasteful spending
- Education should be free like in Turkey and Germany
- The students should not be burdened by so much loans when they are not even confirmed a job yet. What’s more the cost of living now is higher than it used to be.
Arguments against the motion
Among the arguments against the motion are :
- It is a waste of funds that could be used for other development projects
- Those who take loans should pay, basic common sense.
- The government can’t afford it anyway.
How I(myn) see it
From where I see it, this is not a simple issue, because it involves matters of principals and my support depends on how you argue on the matter.
I’m all for free education until the tertiary level, but before that, we must change the evaluation process for the entry into university. It must not have a racial quota and must be on a merit basis, a balance between academic and co-curricular performance. Because if we want to pay for it (tax money at work), we would want the best persons to earn that privilege, so we get the best value for our money, so to speak.
I also believe that yes, if we can eliminate most of the corruption in the country, we can afford to waive payment for PTPTN loans, the question is should we? I myself am a PTPTN benefactor but I personally think I should not be exempted to pay back the loan.
Well, for me and I think most of the other students, we don’t use the PTPTN money just to pay for the university fees, but the money also goes into paying for every day expenses, buying hand phones, motorcycle stuff, entertainment and whatnot, so by writing off the loan is like the government subsidizing the students lifestyle. If this is the case, it is looking more like election candy that the Pakatan Rakyat is so against of which is always done by Barisan Nasional.
Then there is a question of public vs private universities. By writing off the Perbandanan Tabung Pendidikan Tinggi Nasional’s loans, it will mean the private tertiary institution students will in fact get more than the public university students, which is not really fair. But I’m sure the students won’t mind as long as the loan is written off.
However, if you argue rather than the money wasted in the hands of our beloved politicians, better to use the money to write off the loans, then I agree. But on the other hand, it’s better to use that money to make tertiary education free instead of paying off loans. It is not the same thing you know.
So what course of action is best?
Well, I think for earlier generation of National Higher Education Fund’s (PTPTN) loans, however you look at it, it’s not really appropriate to write off their loans on moral grounds. I mean because the money was not used 100% for study fees, it should be considered as a normal loan. Who doesn’t want for someone to pay for the loan they made, but what kind of attitude does that promote?
In short the previous system does not morally allow the writing off of the loans.
What the government can do is:
- Free education up to the tertiary level (public unis only)
- Maintain PTPTN, students can make loans for living expenses during studies or for the private university students to borrow.
- Older PTPTN loans are a lost cause. No use pondering on it.
So in this way i hope a balance of student and government commitment towards education can be achieved and everybody will live happily ever after.
P/S : I know Malaysia is a very political nation, but the views I have are my own. I do not support a particular party apart from the rakyat. Thank you very much.