An angry Malaysian youth’s voice
It is downright inhumane that in the debate over the PTPTN issue, one side resorted to temporarily freezing the loans of some students in an attempt to prove a political point.
COMMENTBy Brian Anand
The past few months have been undoubtedly one of the most stressful periods of my life. How so? It’s because I am currently sitting for my final A-level papers before departing for university.
Having taken into consideration possible university options, compiled a portfolio, applied for placements and received my offers, my parents and I underwent much stress as we embarked on one of the greatest decisions I might ever have to make.
The process of exam revision over the recent months had been immensely taxing as I strove to secure those pesky university target grades. Such are the stresses and pressure that youths like me have to endure in the hopes of securing our placements at universities, so we can acquire and develop the skills necessary to perform in our future vocations.
Hypothetically, let’s say, I end up at the university of my choice. I would be ecstatic knowing that my perseverance has finally paid off, relieved to know that I no longer have to face the stresses of A-levels, and avid to learn more about the profession I intend to pursue.
Unfortunately, I am required to take a student loan as a result of my family’s inability to finance my higher education. What if midway through university, I find my loan frozen? How would I feel, after having toiled so much before? How would my family be able to deal with this situation?
These were possibly the very questions faced by the students at Universiti Selangor (Unisel) recently, upon the freezing of their National Higher Education Loan Corporation (PTPTN) loans.
Using the young as political pawns
The PTPTN has caused much debate on both sides of the political divide, with either side attempting to prove itself right.
One side, however, was seemingly more desperate than the other – so much so, that it resorted to temporarily freezing the loans of some students in an attempt to prove a political point. Though the freeze is over and the students need not worry any longer, certain individuals have began to reveal their true colours.
The temporary freeze has shown us that certain elected representatives are willing to use the young as political pawns. Indeed, this was not the first time that the young of our country were used in such a way.
The teaching and learning of Science and Maths in English (PPSMI) issue saw the children of our nation being used as political tools as well – in the “name of patriotism” – despite the relevant authorities being well aware of the importance of the English language, as a result of increasing globalisation. In a democracy, the job of an elected representative is to ensure the happiness and future prosperity of those they represent.
The young of Malaysia are the embodiment of our country’s future, and the temporary PTPTN freeze has shown total disregard by some elected representatives towards the very people that represent our nation’s future – just to prove a political point. Is this Najib Tun Razak’s idea of the “best democracy in the world?”
The freeze has also shown us that certain individuals are capable of showing complete disregard for the feelings and futures of our young as and whenever it pleases them. Evidently these people showed no respect for those affected by the temporary loan freeze. They failed to consider that they were potentially
jeopardising the futures of potential doctors and engineers – students who toiled and worked hard in order to enrol at Unisel.
And what about the financial security of these students’ families? By choosing to act unannounced, they could have potentially harmed their financial positions – especially since many of these families possess inadequate wealth. Why bother hosting a big festival for your youths in Putrajaya, when you show complete disregard for their futures and families just weeks later? Is this your idea of “People First, Performance Now?”
Where are you Najib?
The stress students go through when working towards university is immense. The pressures families endure as a result of financial constrictions are immense. Some families save years of their income to finance the education of their children.
The fact that certain authorities are capable of unexpectedly freezing the loans of certain students to prove a political point just goes to show that the futures of these students and the well-being of their families are of little worth in their eyes.
At this point in time, “inhumane” is the only word that comes to mind – it is astonishing to see some people act with such little compassion and remorse. Additionally, the silence of key figures, such as our prime minister, only serves to condone such actions.
The purpose of a government is to ensure the well-being of the people but some aspects of our government seem to perceive the people as lab rats for political testing. Najib, where are you?
Political debate is always healthy in a democracy, as disagreements and discussions only serve to improve the status quo.
Regardless of whether you believe in the PTPTN or its abolition, it is certainly agreeable that debates only serve to help resolve the problem at the core of it all: the poor and their ability to deal with the costs of education – PTPTN or not.
It is unfortunate that certain savages are too blind to see this and instead resort to “testing” out their theories on the young of this country – just to prove themselves right. It is also unfortunate that these certain individuals still remain in power for what they have done, without having admitted any of their wrongdoings.
I stand in solidarity with the youth discriminated against and say this to the authorities responsible: Apologise for your actions or resign – because you have failed in your jobs as politicians and in living life with every sense of dignity.
As citizens, we have a responsibility to ensure that we build a country serving the general interest. This responsibility, however, does not stop there. We also need to protect our nation’s future.
Which is why, as a Malaysian youth in my own right, I ask of you one thing: that you protect the future – your children and the young of this nation – by doing all that you can to stand up against injustice and abominable governance such as this.
Voting at the ballot box is not sufficient enough, as staying silent afterward only serves to condone unacceptable actions such as this. As Malaysians, we ought to be more vocal and proactive in our roles as citizens so that we can take charge of our destiny – shaping and building a society that reflect the general will of Malaysians, and rooting out any atrocious actions – as was seen with the temporary PTPN freeze.