Stop bullying tactics | Selangor Times
Issue 118


Advertise with us!
Stop bullying tactics
Writer: Lee Hwok Aun
Published: Fri, 29 Jun 2012

You only become a victim when Putrajaya wants to hear your screams.

That is the case, at least, if you are a student or parent of a student of Universiti Selangor (Unisel) or Kolej Universiti Islam Selangor (Kuis).

I still find it hard to wrap my head around the cruelty and pettiness of Higher Education Minister Khaled Nordin and the Higher Education Corporation Fund (PTPTN) in freezing loans to Unisel and Kuis students, two institutions under Pakatan Rakyat administration. 

Is the heat wave inflicting this madness?

Khaled, together with Education Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, gloated that the reason was to let Pakatan Rakyat fulfil its mission to abolish PTPTN and provide free higher education. 

Of course, Pakatan did not have the means, nor jurisdiction, to deliver on these promises, and Unisel was on the brink of liquidating some assets to tide over the stranded students.

The despicable attempt to score political points by taking students hostage drew widespread disapproval and rebuke from political figures, not just from Pakatan Rakyat representatives but also cooler Umno heads like Khairy Jamaluddin and Saifuddin Abdullah.

The freeze was cancelled within days of the issue becoming a public furore. 

The fiasco has passed, students and parents are relieved, and life is back to normal.

I’m not so sure. It looks like normal just got redefined.

I don’t know what else to expect in the administration of public learning institutions when the higher education minister behaves like a bully and shows wanton disregard and sheer heartlessness toward students he has placed in jeopardy. Especially when he assures us that he “cannot predict what actions will be taken in the future,” if students and Pakatan persist in their campaign. 

He eventually backed down this time, but only after triggering a backlash, and still couldn’t resist congratulating himself for rescuing Unisel from their troubles and highlighting the fact that Unisel’s asset sales wouldonly be a temporary solution.

Our higher education minister prefers to defend PTPTN by threatening rather than reasoning. 

PTPTN’s chairperson Ismail Mohamed Said, for his part, clarified that “the minister overturned the ban as (they) didn’t want to make the students victims”.

And when did the students become victims? Apparently, it dawned on them when they got calls from parents pleading for an end to the PTPTN cut, which would halt their children’s studies. 

The statement insinuates that the students were paying the penalty of the Selangor state government’s inability to pay their fees. Never mind that federal government oversees higher education and purposely caused this crisis.

The only time the federal government recognises victims, it seems, is when ministers unplug their ears and see a glorious opportunity to step in as saviour. 

I would like to think, and retain optimism, that students can grasp this bad faith and conniving scheme.

But I dread to think what actions that might be taken to smother dissent. Will PTPTN loan recipients have to sign loyalty oaths? Will

individuals be targeted instead of collective student bodies? 

I would also like to think that these will not happen.

I am not fully persuaded that PTPTN should be abolished, certainly not without a deeper analysis of its problems and possible solutions. 

It is not operating well and clearly in need of reform, particularly with regard to private institutions.

The current state of the fund and oversight by MOHE do not inspire much confidence. 

PTPTN operates too much in isolation from the realities students face; the official stock answer to students’ complaints of heavy debt is “you borrow, you pay” without examining whether increases in fees and education expenses are warranted. 

The minister’s zeal to freeze loans has not been matched by fervour to freeze tuition fees. 

PTPTN also requires too little of the institutions that profit from the fees paid through the loans it administers, with no clear framework for institutions to couple receiving loan funds with offering scholarships, grants or jobs for students, or guidelines for reimbursement should the institution be negligent in over-enrolling classes or over-charging fees.

I have not heard any such issues and options being debated. 

Umno-BN’s position seems to be PTPTN, take it as it is, or leave it. 

Pakatan’s stance: dump it.

We can do better in laying out the options. To proceed, though, the onus is on federal higher education authorities to stop bullying and start listening sincerely.


 Selangor Times



Also by Lee Hwok Aun:

Voting by manifesto

I REALLY want to compare two election manifestos, but as I write only one exists.

The bounteous taking before generous giving

Sunnier days for workers?

Guarantee or speculation?

COME Dec 31, if Planet Earth continues orbiting the sun and twirling on its axis, 2012 will run its full term.

Dr Syed Husin – Justice For All

Don’t address him YB. If there is one who deserves to be honoured by us the rakyat, it’s him. But Dr Syed Husin Ali prefers not to be called Yang Berhormat, especially outside of the parliamentary chambers where he is Senator. You will not find a whiff of false modesty in his words. 

Education blueprint falls short

At last, some official confession of how bad things really are in our schools. 

Janji Dinanti

My secondary schoolmates gathered recently for a reunion. Many of us hadn’t met in 20 years, and in some cases couldn’t match names to faces.

Poser over NEP exit

Are we ready to exit the New Economic Policy?

Is Vision 2020 delusionary?

Looks like Vision 2020 is riding back into the limelight. With elections around the corner, as they have been for about a year, and destiny’s date now just eight years away, UMNO-BN fires a cocktail canister of pleas: so little time, so much to do, and only they will get us there, only they know how. It almost brings tears to my eyes, tears of…

Good conduct Bill for MPs?

Let’s say we table a Members of Parliament Proper Conduct Bill, and inserted sub-section 15(4) of the current Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) Amendment Bill. Why not? Both are institutions meant to pursue truth and generate debate.

Minimum wage still in infancy

It looks like we are rather conscious these days of lowly incomes and lofty inequalities.

What educational reform?

You might think, as we get closer to the promised reforms to the University and University Colleges Act (UUCA), that public authorities and education institutions would want to show some change of heart and mind. Think again.

Why settle for minimum wage?

THE lowest- paid workers in Selangor’s state agencies stand to gain from a wage boost next year. The state government’s recently announced RM1,500 minimum wage moves us in a fair and progressive direction.

Landing softly, hardly taking off

So the teaching of maths and science in English, and acronym of the year PPSMI, has been piloted to a soft landing. There’s a bit for all interested parties in the final give and take.

Malaysia should focus on education

2011 will have to go down as the year of the occupied square. The Occupy Wall Street month-long encampment at Zuccotti Park in Manhattan follows a motif painted from Tunis’ Kasbah Square to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, among the more epic places of revolutionary gathering.

Subversion and division

A subversive document lies before me. Brazenly, some Malaysians think “only those countries that undertook a systematic programme to transform the underlying structure of their economies … were able to rise from middle-income status to become high-income countries”. And these people say we should do likewise.

Whither BN’s logic?

When Nick Leeson, the infamous rogue trader, was convicted in 1995, his lines of defensce did not include “I lost money, how could I have committed fraud?” When professional cyclist Bernard Kohl was found guilty of doping in the Tour de France, he did not plead: “I didn’t win the race, how could I have cheated?”

Wither minimum wage bill?

In my last column I wrote about our rush to meet grandiose targets and end up with partial or delusional solutions. Right on cue, Datuk Seri Idris Jala disclosed on April 26 that Pemandu is expecting do deliver a modus operandi and quantum of minimum wage by the end of this year.

Country in a hurry

We are a country in a hurry: we want high-income status by 2020. We are also a KPI-driven nation: we speedily devise and monitor a litany of key performance indicators. And we are an ambitious lot: we set high targets and want fast results.

Malaysia’s "Me, too!" mentality

Murderously deforested Sarawak goes to their state polls soon. The world remains transfixed on the frenzy to cool down Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plants. And the Malaysian government refuses to impose a moratorium on its plans for nuclear energy.

The right answers or the right questions?

Did you hear a collective groan last week, emitting from the likes of Pantai Dalam, Serdang and Bangi? It's back to the semester grind for students at Universiti Malaya, Universiti Putra, Universiti Kebangsaan, and Malaysia's public universities and their now synchronised calendars.











From Windows to a Mac: A guide




In for a sweet treat




A Majestic presence





Copyright © 2018 Selangor Times. All rights reserved. Designed By Senedi