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KUALA LUMPUR: The National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) should not be abolished as it will not resolve the problem of students who cannot afford higher education, Pas president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said.
He said there was a need for a fair process that would not burden either students or communities. Hadi’s view is another indication of the conflicting stand on issues among parties in Pakatan Rakyat, mainly Pas and Parti Keadilan Rakyat.
It also contradicts the stand of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and PKR, which had called for PTPTN to be abolished. Anwar had also said that Petronas funds could be used to write off the RM43 billion loans owed to PTPTN since 1999.
Several Pas leaders had said the proposal to abolish PTPTN was not discussed by Pakatan Rakyat and was merely PKR’s decision. Hadi, in an interview with a Malay tabloid on Saturday, said in Islam, those who had the means should make it their responsibility to help the poor.
Presenting a view that differed from Anwar’s, Hadi said famed Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun had touted education as an industry that was concerned with productivity.
He said education must result in productive human capital. “Therefore, PTPTN loans cannot be abolished just like that "There has to be a process that is just and fair and will not burden the poor. The rich must bear the responsibility."
Pas central working committee member Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad had said that abolishing PTPTN was not a Pakatan policy and there was no unanimous stand on it.
The Kuala Selangor MP said it was "the aspirations of a particular party and individuals".
Dzulkefly said in principle, Pas went along with the idea but added the issue would be subjected to a decision-making process before it became a Pakatan policy.
PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli confirmed the idea was still being discussed at the party level.
Last week, Pas Youth deputy head Nik Abduh Nik Aziz, who is the son of its spiritual leader and Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, said all Muslims who had borrowed should repay their loans, as stipulated in Islam.
Bernama reported that nearly 500 private higher education institutions (IPTS) would be affected if PTPTN was abolished.
Deputy Minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said many IPTS students finance their education by borrowing from PTPTN.
"The abolishment of PTPTN will have a negative impact on the development of the higher education industry," he said in Benut.
"Private universities may be closed because students may not have the means to finance their higher education."