Students’ Occupy Dataran protest enters Day 3

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A group of some 30 students are determined to continue their Occupy Dataran Merdeka protest against burdensome study loans.

The students are insisting on their constitutional right to freedom of assembly, which they believe trumps KL City Hall regulations, to carry on the sit-in.

The tent protest began on Saturday and has seen KL City Hall enforcement officers scuffling with the students, who are determined to continue their protest against the PTPTN tertiary education study loan scheme.

High study loans are contributing to mounting household debt in the country. The students are insisting that higher education should be free. In a sense, the students’ protest is a critique of the neoliberal approach of curbing government spending on essential services like education and health care and getting users (students and patients) to bear the financial burden.

PTPTN study loans were introduced in 1997 following moves to ‘corporatise’ institutions of tertiary education in the country. This has seen the gradual removal of subsidies in higher education, thus shifting the burden of financing higher education from the government to the students/public.

For a typical three-year arts degree course in a public university, a student now has to take a RM19500 study loan (RM21000 for a science degree). Loans are repayable six months after the course is completed. Typically, the loan has to be repaid in 120 monthly instalments over 10 years.

All study loans are charged an administrative cost of 3 per cent based on the outstanding principal balance. (That works out to a total admin charge of RM3000-plus.)

If a borrower is unemployed or if his or her finances are unstable after the course has been completed, the borrower may apply for a deferment of the repayment. But the 3 per cent annual administrative cost will still be charged for the entire duration of the deferment.

Aggravating the problem is the rising number of unemployed graduates and diploma holders. The number has doubled to around 100000 since 2008.

Just for ‘fun’, let’s compare the above with the ‘cow’ loan scheme:

Loan from the government for NFC signed in 2007 (The Star)

Total loan: RM250m

Repayment period: 20 years

Grace period for repayments: 3 years

(First drawdown: RM7m in January 2008; therefore, first repayment due in 2012)

Interest payable: 2% p.a.

No prizes for figuring out which is the more attractive proposition: investing in cows and condos OR embarking on a three-year undergraduate degree course.

No wonder the country is in the state it is in!

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Yang

They are just execising their rights of freedom of speech and assembly

Pala Richie

Let’s put corruption aside for a while. I agree primary/secondary education is a right, but, is higher education a right or privilege? Now you demand for free high education, next, you demand for admission for all. Even you get all these, everyone is higher education graduates! do you think this help? “You want it, you earn it, free lunch in not free in reality”. Take higher education as investment, you take loan, you pay loan, as simple as this, it is your responsibility. You took RM500 BR1M, someone got to pay somehow, someway, it works the same for free PTPTN.… Read more »

tunglang

Once you privatize higher education instead of building more public unis, the tendency is for the private edu fees to rise exponentially. The fact is more & more students have no choice but to study in private institutions when public unis quota is stiff. So the imbalance of demand / supply factor kicks in. Why can’t gomen build more unis? Ah Kong’s monies seem limited (for the nation’s education needs) BUT for other leeching or cow’s purposes (AOK). The same reasoning or excuses for (leeching) goes for public health. ApaNama did the wrong thing when he advocated privatization of essential… Read more »

tunglang

There are bound to be abuses when things are given free. Like the RM200 Book Vouchers for students. Seen with my own eyes how a student exchanged the vouchers for encyclopedia of pop music book!
He must have dream too much of American Idol or singing his way to a degree!
Anyway, (some) bookstores don’t follow strict regulations as long as they make good business from this book voucher business sense!

Ha Ha Ha

tunglang,
talking about american idols, do you think american filipino (Jessica Sanchez) can be an idol ?

since anil also a fan of whitney, take a moment to forget about corruption, leakages n wastages in Malaysia; and enjoy jessica’s rendition of whitney (or dolly parton’s) classic :-

kee

Ha Ha Ha, thks for the video clip…

While many people are a fan of Whitney Houston, however i find Celion Dion more captivating.

To me, Whitney’s voice is a bit stiff … Many people can sing but only a few singers, their voices can reach down to your soul and touch your heart .

Jeremy Soong

The moment Jessican Sanchez openly declared herself to be a Filipino-American, American public ‘punished’ her with lowest number of vote for the first time. Lucky for her to be saved by the 3 AI (American Idiotic) judges. The much criticized (by the AI judges) Holly Cavanagh is well liked by the American voters because of her British origin. It is hard to ignore that ‘race’ plays a major part in the voting pattern of the American audience. Final 2 will be Colton Dixon (support from Christians who have also made Kris Allen the winner ahead of gay Adam Lambert) and… Read more »

kee

Hi Jeremy, can i say Jessica’s vocal is not powerful enough and her voice is not as melodious.

Jeremy

Actually Jessica is just a good copycat of Whitney or Celine. I doubt people will buy her album (if ever released) once you already have Whitney/Celine CDs. Only 2 out of the 10 AI winners have continued to be successful (Kelly Clarkson & Carrie Underwood). Contestants from big cities will never win. Why? Because people in big cities have alternative entertainment avenue than to watch AI and to vote. Majority of the votes come from rural Americans, so Skylar Laine the country girl have the edge. You should watch ‘The Voice’ on Astro-AXN, the singers are more mature and professional… Read more »

tunglang

Everyone is entitled to sing, anything.
American Idol? I don’t follow b’cos I can’t stand that Cow-well guy of self-puffed-up face & thumb-down attitude, very unAmerican.
At least Clint Eastwood with his half-chewed cigar & Rawhide silent grumble in the face got class & an attitude no Red Indians or Red necks on Harleys dare to pull a trigger.
Cow-well might as well sign up for American Idol as a moo-ing contestant for a change and taste cow … from others!
When I have no money at month’s end, I automatically sing my sorrows away!

Penang Ah Beng

forget all those idols, i still believe in $ crazy Sam Hui who has made another comeback from countless farewell tours to milk the cows at Genting again

Jeremy

Sam Hui has annual farewell concert every year. His farewell is meant for the year.

ram

young malay students are now defying umno.
a worrying sign for umno..

Jeremy Soong

Now everyone is pushing for free goodies as Najib is in such a generous mood amid desperation for votes???

Pala Richie

What is the problem of paying back educational loan? Many did pay back their loan, even before PTPTN existence. The loan did not make you poor, it should enrich you, what made you poor is inability to apprehend what you learnt and make use of it and expect hand out. We know these students occupy dataran because they insist higher education should be free. If these students think the gov can afford free higher education, unfortunately the gov has wrong set of priorities. For that, I think, occupy the ‘dataran’ makes sense, the education has ran its course. Alternatively, if… Read more »

SamG

Yes Anil, corruption, wastage & squandering is rampant. However are we creating a subsidy mentality society? We should reward good students, and not rent seekers. The Education Loan converts loans to scholarships for top students who have put in the effort. If not is there a reason to work hard when everything is free. When things are free is it usually not appreciated, in general. The next generation will develop the attitude, so why should I work hard to be a high achiever? Are you aware that Matrikulasi students in Univ are usually occupying the 2nd class Lower and pass… Read more »

Yang

Yes again there was a time when health care was really free in govt hospital. Now they let you have free of the RM1 for senior citizen but suck you for any operation and medicines.

Yang

Free assembly bill, my foot. Its all a bluff, lie and deceit by Ammo, Barang Naik and Najib.

tunglang

Just like private medical treatments, private education is getting more expensive by the months. Coupled with ‘stiff’ quotas for entry into limited public unis, demand has exceeded supply making education provision for the many students a profitable private venture. Since the burden of providing more scholarships by the gomen has shifted to self-sponsorship, banks & private edu institutions are laughing to their own banks. And it is a ready-to-borrow market just like credit cards. So who will protest when the fees start to go higher and higher before the next spring? Have to study anyway mah! FYI, among the highly… Read more »

kee

private colleges are mushrooming just like the private hospitals, pity the parents footing the hefty bills for their children ‘s education and at the end when you need them the most, your children will not hesitate to send you to the oldfolk’s home…

SamG

I thought the day will never come when I have to agree with Gerakan K. Mind you, I will still vote for PR. We cannot follow BN and continue the Subsidy mental. Hard Work must be rewarded not penalised. So all those who had work hard and digilently paid the loans would be penalized by PR if they write off all the loans taken by students. Not all are poor, many drive big cars but can’t repay the loans. hard working students are rewarded when the loans are turned to scholarships. Because BN has been swindling the rakyat – 2… Read more »

Andrew I

Aw, shucks Gherks. Feeling sick, are you? Wait for your 1clinic to come round and see you. I would feel sick too, like Mubarak, when your world is crumbling all around you. Don’t forget to wear a suit when they wheel you in a stretcher.

kee

Finally, Gilakan is sick because of the students’ protest for free education which is legitimate but UMNO, MIC and MCA loot the country to bankruptcy Gilakan is not sick ???

Gilakan, you are really sick, maybe your time is near, please repent before it is too late as 1CareClinic cannot save you !!!

Gerakan K

Anil: A group of some 30 students are determined to continue their sit-in in their Occupy Dataran Merdeka protest against burdensome study loans.

Why only protest for study loan ??? Go protest because of no free lunch in Malaysia !!! Yeah demand for free nasi lemak 3 times a day. Really sicking when I see these protest protest protest ~

Yang

Really sickening of GK to always go for free lunch and freebies. Yes sickening …

tunglang

Haven’t you heard of gravy trains choo-choo thro’ sundry shops? Macam gelak-gelakan!
Oh yes, soon there will be condo-reared cows in sundry shops!
Somebody has to learn milking (it-dry) cow!

Derick

It is the BN’s education policy that has shaped the thinking of such students.