KOTA KINABALU, May 23 — The federal government’s generosity towards Palestinians’ education should also be extended towards the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) holders, said a Sabah opposition party.
Parti Bersatu Sabah deputy president Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai said that the current government is now financially able to provide scholarships to the Palestinians, so it was obvious they are not short of education funds.
“We urge the government to be fair. Review its decisions on repayment of PTPTN holders and Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) college funding since the government now has extra money to give away, even to foreigners. Charity should start at home first,” said Dr Yee in a statement today.
He said that the party was not arguing over the merits of using our taxpayer money for the foreigners on education, but that due consideration should be given to Malaysians, particularly the PTPTN loan defaulters.
“If we are so concerned with the education of non-Malaysians, why, at the same time, are we so hard on our own PTPTN holders?
“Many of our own PTPTN holders are now being punished for their inability to repay the loan. This is notwithstanding the promise of the government over repayment by the PTPTN holders, previously.
“It is not acceptable that the government has cited shortage of funds, as an excuse, for not honouring its manifesto to the PTPTN holders; yet, at the same time, it has money to give away scholarships to foreigners,” he said.
Dr Yee also criticised the government for “punishing” TAR College by giving them less than half the amount of funds, as compared to what has been committed to the scholarships for foreigners.
“This is very deplorable when, in fact, TAR college has educated so many Malaysians, some of whom are now even members of the current government,” he said.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had yesterday announced that the government has decided to offer scholarships to Palestinian students to pursue bachelor, masters, and PhD courses in 12 Malaysian universities.
The scholarships worth RM11.48 million will be offered through the Palestinian Cultural Organisation Malaysia (PCOM)
Among the 12 universities are Albukhary International University, Mahsa University, Kolej Universiti Islam Perlis, Multimedia University, UCSI University, Universiti Teknologi Petronas, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Sunway University, Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Universiti Utara Malaysia.