PTPTN - abolishment???

This post is dedicated to isu isu malaysia comment on recent occupy dataran merdeka to abolish PTPTN and free education.

Dear undergrads,
I saw you occupy the Merdeka Square and could feel your high-spirited youthfulness.
I have no objection to your "occupy" campaign. From Wall Street to Jalan Sultan, indeed young people should step out of their classrooms to taste the sunshine and rain.
It doesn't have to be that tough after all. With an iPhone or iPad in your hands, you could stay in touch on Twitter or Facebook, sharing with your followers or friends the amazing nasi kandar you've savoured just across the street from Merdeka Square or perhaps a photo you snapped with some curious tourists.
So, I will never worry that you would get bored or exhausted at the Dataran.
But I just wonder what the real significance of occupying the Dataran is.
I did not hear any anti-Lynas or anti-corruption slogans, or anything against UiTM's rejection of non-bumi students nor the pathetic academic standards of our universities today.
All you have wanted is free tertiary education and writing off of PTPTN arrears.
I even saw a "PTPTN, the big loan shark" placard hoisted under the sultry sun over the Dataran.
I couldn't help but laugh: All that you have wanted is just so simple.
But have you ever thought about this: If everything is free of charge, where does the money come from? And if you can default on your loans, who would extend the loans to you?
Since you are all university students, I assume you have learned some economics before, right? Don't you remember there is something called "costing" in economics? For anything offered free of charge to you, someone else have to foot the bill.
Your lecturer could have told you, and economics guru Milton Friedman most definitely said it before, that nothing comes free under the sun.
And this costing concept applies very well on all of you.
Tuition fees at the country's government universities have been heavily subsidised and are among the cheapest in this world.
Your RM7,000 to RM8,000 annual tuition fees are just about a third of private college tuition fees here, a fifth of those of Australia's public universities, one-sixth of America's and one-eighth of Britain's.
Your parents should take delight in the fact that some other people are helping them pay the tuition fees so that they can keep their retirement funds largely intact.
What I am trying to say is that the cheap tuition fees are most definitely not Godsend. The government has to dig into taxpayers' pockets to subsidise your education, including mine.
If you are hailing from a poor family, sure enough I am more than willing to contribute my part to help. But there are so many of you who come from well-to-do families and yet enjoy the heavily slashed tuition fees.
Not to mention the PTPTN loans, where our government has been excessively generous by offering full loans at a mere 1% interest rate (If this is what you call loan shark, I would love to take a loan from you).
Given the fact that Bank Negara's overnight lending rate is 3%, the remaining 2% (could be a lot more if we factor in the inflation) has to be sourced from somewhere (the government? not really, but the generously taxed uncles and aunties).
I don't mind contributing that 2%. I see it as my national obligation. But you refuse to pay up when you graduate from school someday in the future, and the PTPTN cannot just close shop this way. So, we taxpayers are once again come under the axe.
You are actually well aware that university education is never free even in cash-rich Western countries. Many students there have to take up part-time jobs or bank loans before they can attend their classes.
You don't need a part-time job or a bank loan to finance your studies here. You don't even need to step into the lecture hall; just sit at the Dataran to protest against "I don't know what"!
Perhaps the Dataran should be occupied by the uncles and aunties who subsidise your studies. We have a whole lot more valid reasons to occupy the square.
Original post:


一個很想住帳篷的安哥 上(星洲日報/馬荷加尼‧作者:鄭丁賢‧《星洲日報》副總編輯)