The Sessions Court in Kuala Lumpur today struck out a suit brought by student activist Mandeep Singh against the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN).
Dubbed as the first of such suits against the controversial loan scheme, Justice Unaizah Mohd struck out the suit on grounds that there was insufficient evidence to prove wrongful detention and defamation against Mandeep (left) .
“Based on the statements and documents, the plaintiff has failed to prove that PTPTN acted in bad faith and failed to prove that its actions prevented his freedom (of movement).”
Unaizah also ordered the plaintiff to bear costs.
The plaintiff, a former Universiti Selangor (Unisel) student, had accused the PTPTN authorities of barring him from going overseas at the KL International Airport on July 6, 2011.
He argued that this was despite having repaid the loan amount sought by the PTPTN and having been issued an official receipt.
Mandeep had previously said PTPTN acted in bad faith by blacklisting him, damaging his reputation, and making him look like a criminal by not removing his name from the Immigration Department’s blacklist.
He sought RM19,000 in special damages for the flight ticket and hotel booking as well as interest, costs and other relief deemed fit by the court. He was represented by Abdul Malik Hakim.
Mandeep to appeal decision
When met outside of the court, Mandeep said he was surprised by Unaizah’s judgment but would definitely appeal against the decision.
“If we see the witnesses’ testimony, I can’t see how I failed to prove my detention was unlawful.
“July 6 was an injustice for me. After a year, it is still an injustice,” he said.
The activist, who took part in the week-long anti-PTPTN protest at Dataran Merdeka last month, also said the verdict would not daunt his spirit to continue the pursuit of free education.
PSM secretary-general S Arutchelvan, who was there in support of Mandeep, said the verdict could leave serious implications on other loan borrowers who risked being blacklisted, despite keeping up with the arrears.
Meanwhile, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli commended Mandeep’s courage to take a principled stand “on behalf of millions of Malaysians” who are PTPTN borrowers.
“I just hope that the court will not be influenced as the PTPTN has become a huge political issue,” Rafizi said.