By Lisa J. Ariffin
KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang today called for Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin to apologise for endorsing the federal government’s now-discontinued move to freeze student loans for Selangor-owned universities.
Describing the suspension as “downright wrong, immoral and criminal and should never have been imposed in the first place”, Lim today welcomed the undoing of the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan freeze for Universiti Selangor (Unisel) and Selangor International Islamic University College (Kuis) students.
However, he questioned if Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin and Higher Education Minister Khaled “would have the decency to apologise for such bullying and criminal breach of trust tactics as they had publicly endorsed the unethical, vindictive and vengeful PTPTN freeze of loans to Unisel and Kuis students”.
“This is a pertinent question as it is only yesterday that the Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim launched his ministry’s 1 Malaysia moral guide extolling 21 moral values,” Lim said today in a press statement.
Lim also accused Muhyiddin and Khaled of victimising and penalising Unisel and Kuis students in a “desperate attempt to wrest back the Selangor state government from Pakatan Rakyat (PR)”, calling the two misters “half-past-six”.
The federal government today reversed its move to suspend student loans for Selangor-owned universities after it drew fierce criticisms from PR politicians who were joined by some Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders fearing a political backlash.
Unisel officials confirmed the loan freeze was lifted today, just a day after Muhyiddin defended as “fair” the move that was aimed at laying bare PR’s campaign for free university education.
The freeze, which Muhyiddin and Khaled had called a “test” of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) free education pledge, had drawn fierce condemnation from the federal opposition and student groups.
Lim accused the Najib administration this morning of breaching public trust while an Islamic student group said Putrajaya must reverse the freeze and apologise.
The uproar led to BN Youth leaders voicing their disagreement, pointing out that the “test” was unnecessary as “it is clear Selangor cannot give free education.”
Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, who has repeatedly criticised PR’s free education pledge, also said Putrajaya’s move was “wrong” and “PTPTN should have known Pakatan won’t give free education at Unisel.”
But these protests from members of the ruling coalition came after Selangor decided to raise RM30 million by selling land owned by Unisel to provide financial assistance to students who have been denied the loans.
An Umno leader told The Malaysian Insider that if Selangor were to succeed in funding the affected students, “it would mean they have passed the test” set by Muhyiddin.