Well the latest hype now that the election is coming is whether should the government abolish PTPTN. I find this topic extremely amazing. Well the government say that it is not fully possible as the RM43 billion is a huge amount, but the opposition says that it's only about RM27 billion (sorry I can't remember the exact figure) as the additional billions are from the interest rate. The people have also demanded free education even up to the tertiary level.
Abolishing the PTPTN, does this mean the past RM43 billion would simply not be paid by the borrowers? Let me go step by step on this.
Currently yes we still have to pay for tertiary education and we know public universities are many times cheaper compared to private universities. Perhaps free education up to the tertiary level would be great. However does everyone really know how the students of these days use their PTPTN money?
Many people I know does not come from the wealthiest of families. A certain percentage of their loan were actually given to provide for their parents back in the kampung. So if we abolish PTPTN, how are these poor students to help the families back at home? Are we expecting the students of tertiary education to not just study but work part time as well? Especially students who are taking difficult fields of studies such as physiotherapy and medicine, do you think we actually have the time to go work part time?
Also some of these students used their PTPTN money to buy needs such as laptops and even new phones. I admit that I see some of them could buy some really expensive phones. I know of one person who got approximately RM3200 per semester, RM1200 was used to pay the study fee, and another RM1500 was used to buy a new phone. The remaining RM500 was used for food for 6 months and he often go on a cheap bread or bun diet. So these kind of people, since priorities are way off the true objective of education loans, why take the loan in the first place? Then later if they are not able to get a job, or a job with a relatively good pay, they would blame the government for it? Also, assuming some who actually buy laptops instead of phones (laptops are of course a necessity for university students), so if they are not from a family who is able to support them, where would they get the money to buy laptops? Or even books as we know university books are expensive. I could spend up to RM1k per semester for books alone.
What about our basic necessity of food? Many of these students, again from not the wealthiest of families uses the PTPTN money to simply buy food. their families are not able to provide them adequately therefore the loan itself would be paying for their daily needs. Think about clothing, class trips and other miscellaneous, how would they afford all this if there is no loan? Even if education is free, all these items are still expenses and if there is no PTPTN, where would they have the means of purchasing these items? Bank loans? Borrowing from other people? HOW?!
Also PTPTN requires the borrower to pay after 6 months of graduation. This would encourage students to work hard in their studies, get good grades then get a good job to pay the loan. Why do we want to have such a subsidised mentality still, to not have to pay back the loan? Some even suggest for only those with a salary of more than RM3000 have to pay the loan and those who have a less pay does not need to. Does this mean they would not have to pay the loan at all? Doesn't that sound like PTPTN would be converted to scholarships for them? Sounds like a scholarship for mediocrity. Free laptops, free handphones, free food and clothing then since the PTPTN money has been converted into scholarships? Nice, I don't mind getting a pay less than RM3000 then. Also, this should again tell students that studies is something they should take seriously, not to play around as they should know they have a loan to pay upon graduation. And does abolishing the PTPTN loan means the RM43 billion does not have to be paid by the borrowers? Ho0oray for them for the free laptops, free phones, free clothing, free food, free etc. Perhaps I should have taken the loan and get all those things free.
We have to also know that many students studying in private tertiary education are also on the PTPTN loan. So if these students are not able to secure a place in public universities, and they can't afford to pay for education in the private sector, wouldn't PTPTN be of great help? Or should they be working first with their SPM and collect enough money for education later? By then they might be at least 21 or 22 years of age and they would get their diploma only by 25 when many have gotten a degree by that age. How is it fair to the private education students?
Free education, yes! Abolishing PTPTN loan, no! (perhaps a better request is to reduce the interest rate rather than abolishing it fully)