With the upcoming elections around the corner, lately I have been hearing a lot of complains and protests that has been happening around town. However one that really caught my attention are 30+ students gathering in front of Dataran Merdeka, protesting for free education and the abolishment of the PTPTN (National Body of Higher Education Funds).
[Students protesting against Student Loans]
This will be a lengthy, wordy post so please bear with me. With all the commotion against those who are protesting on the streets, I can conclude on one thing very, very clear about these protesters.
These people haven't got a clue what they are protesting about.
Referring my explanation based on the brilliant arguments posted by fellow blogger and classmate of mine, NoktahHitam, personally I feel that what they are asking for has nothing to do with the welfare of students in general or the betterment of students in the future, but rather just a bunch of people who are not even grateful with the loans that THEY THEMSELVES TOOK to get into universities and just refused to pay them back.
Of issues on abolishing PTPTN loans
What I question is that do these people even realise what would happen if people would have to rely on other means of study loans?
If say for example students were to ask for a bank loan to student, in general banks would fork out at average between 11% - 7% per annum, depending on the bank and how long do you plan to pay back the loan. These are the rates of normal banks like Maybank and CIMB, don't even think about discussing the rates of international banks such as Standard Chartered or OCBC.
You compare that with the set rate 4% per annum that PTPTN charges its student, a logical person would be able to deduce that students are much better of paying loans to government bodies like PTPTN rather than forking out even more to banks and monetary institutions mentioned above.
Mind you that with governmental bodies, at least there are levy of situation of delayed payments if in situation that the student would not be able to find necessary funds to repay their loans. If you fail to pay with a bank, their default action is to immediately go after your collateral that you have assigned to your loan in case you wouldn't be able to pay them back in time.
I would have to agree with what has been written in Noktah Hitam, the fact that most people would be more than happy to pay their loans for other assets such as cars, IPhones, TV's or homes yet when it comes to appreciated assets like education, immediately they start squirming themselves to get out of the loan. Saying they deserve to get it for free. My question is, should they get the other loans that they have or will take for free as well?
These people know fully well what they were signing themselves into when they took the loans, with the promise to repay the loans in the future. Later on, they turn around and say that its unfair and refuse to pay off their loans anymore. The civilized way of society is not to borrow and then turn around to scream and shout that they should get it for free. In normal circumstances, you call that a conman or a thief.
Free education for Malaysians
On concept, I believe that the idea of free education is actually a brilliant idea that should be implemented in the Malaysian education system, much like the ones that has been implemented in most developed countries. But how much does these people realise on the ways that are practised in other countries when it comes to "free education"?
In countries like Norway, Denmark and Sweden, university fees are completely covered by the govenment HOWEVER other living expenses are still covered by the student themselves. This would mean that the students would have to fork up thousands just to survive and for those that can't afford it, where do they go?
Once again I agree with what has been noted by Noktah, in the end without government loan bodies available, you have better luck on landing in the moon then getting an affordable bank loan to survive. No bank would want to risk a personal loan to a person that would not seem to be able to repay them back, especially with no sizeable fixed income to back up that loan.
So I question, where do these students go for help then?
And if we give everything for free in this country, much like countries like the UK or US, what guarantee is there that the system itself would not be abused by the people themselves? This is what's happening to the countries mentioned above, people taking advantage of benefits because people are just used to getting things for free and not having to pay anything back for it.
What of these Student Protesters?
So the question is, who are these students? Personally I feel that the students are just out to pick a fight and nothing more than that. A bunch of "Rebel without a Clue" of what they are really out there for.
I was one of the lucky ones. I was blessed with a family that could afford me to go to university without relying on loans and I was lucky enough to have some money of my own through part time jobs while I was studying. But I have immediate family members and friends who relied entirely on student loans to get them to university and they for sure didn't waste their time protesting and screaming like thugs on a rampage.
One of my best friends, who was from Tawau and came from an average income family but blessed with a brilliant mind and was in university with me in UK was given the opportunity to study with the help of government student scholarship. Today he is serving the government, after graduating as one of the top in his class.
I have hundreds of close friends of mine, all graduated from local universities with excellent results and brilliant minds of their own but each and everyone of them knows what the REAL situation is and not be swayed but popular beliefs and hearsay issues.
Majority of us don't need to be in public, enticing officials, calling people "Bodoh" and "Barua UMNO" and hurling abuse, undermining someone's education level when being referred to by officials in a calm and considerate manner (especially for one claiming he is screaming and angry because he is hungry. Well done mate...). Most of us are civilized enough to channel our concerns in ways that need not be this confrontational and just plain rude. These people just an insult to the majority of local graduate student's credibility and intelligence.
One must remember that our basic teachings have taught us, in both religion and social understanding, that we are not animals to simply pick a fight with people when we don't get things our way. The need of PTPTN is very apparent, especially those that needs it the most YET IN THE SAME TIME, I would have to criticize the way PTPTN officials manage their debt collection methods and serve their responsibility better in serving the students.
If there should be an introduction of free education in our country, I will support it with STRICT regulations being implied to the screening process of those who are eligible for the benefit, not all students. The last thing we want is to give free stuff to deadbeat students who is in it for a free ride rather than truly appreciating the help.
Do check out the writings of Noktah Hitam on the similar issue. My hat goes to him with an excellent breakdown on the issue. Kudos.
Nang this post if you like it guys! Thanks!