Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Our Scheming Malaysian Government

We Malaysians are so lucky. We have such a scheming Government (it's a pronoun now!). They just like to start schemes everywhere. When I read about this new scheme that they've hatched, I was curious. I have never heard of the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) before. The only thing that I know about it is what is written in the article in TheStar.

Essentially, it requires parents to contribute some money into the scheme, before their kids are eligible to apply for higher education loans under the PTPTN loan scheme. According to the article, parents with a monthly income of RM 2,000 need to have at least RM 3,000 in the scheme while parents with a lower monthly income need to have RM 500 in the scheme. If they don't, their kids will not qualify for a PTPTN loan.

Personally, I have always felt that it's the job of the government to provide their people with an education. If someone has the grades to go to university, they should not be denied a place due to financial reasons. I had originally thought that our government was doing the right thing by providing essentially everyone with a PTPTN loan. This allowed people from low income families to complete a university education. The terms on the loan are extremely good.

It now seems that our government has decided to introduce barriers for people seeking financial aid for education. I'm not sure why it's doing this. Maybe it's because there have been too many loan defaulters or maybe the original funds are running dry. Either way, it's not a good thing. The government should be encouraging people to pursue higher education to increase social mobility. Placing more hurdles in their paths doesn't exactly accomplish that.

This is the government sneaking in a stealth tax on the people. Working parents will now have to pay an education tax in order to ensure their kids get through university. I wonder if this scheme will be used as a future criteria in securing a place in university. Goodness knows that it's quite weird enough that people with good grades are being denied a place. Now, we can possibly say that it's because their parents have not paid enough education tax.

I think that this is a silly idea.

PS: I'm babbling away with a headache. So, take my words with massive helpings of salt.


koln_auhc said...

Do check out the debts people taking PTPTN loan have defaulted on. Pretty big sum actually, close to a billion ringgit now.

Divide it by 25 million Malaysians, we all get 40 ringgit!! Wiii.

Shawn Tan said...

Then, the government should go after the loan defaulters and seize their assets.