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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Schoolboy antics over PTPTN

The Malaysian Insider

Are schoolboys in charge of education in Malaysia? It sure seems that way when Putrajaya’s education czars decide to sulk and pull back scholarships for those studying in Selangor’s Universiti Selangor (Unisel) this past week.

Only to flip flop, be wishy-washy, do a volte-face and overturn that emotional decision a day later. Is that how a government runs things? Aren’t these ministers — Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin — an embarrassment to Datuk Seri Najib Razak?

They can’t even be gracious and admit their mistake. Take Khaled’s statement that Unisel’s appeal for National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loans to be restored showed that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) could not deliver its promise of free education.

Is that how a Barisan Nasional (BN) minister behaves? Use state facilities to prove a point? And let students seeking a better future be at his whim and fancy?

Does he think these students will think highly of him? Or be “grateful” to the federal government? If anything, Khaled has pushed Selangor to prove it can fund these students with RM30 million from the sale of UniSel land. And if Selangor can do it, why the need for PTPTN? Or a BN government minister who is vindictive?

One would expect a better performance from Khaled. He isn’t some junior minister out to impress his superiors or his followers with such an emotional response to PR’s promises.

In a marketplace of idea, Khaled and those of his ilk should try to out-think PR, not resort to a schoolyard scrap over who is better or stronger and the loser walking off in a huff vowing not to friend the victor.

Why has politics in Malaysia gone down to just being mean spirited, grumpy and sulking in a corner by some of the BN chaps? Especially these two from Johor, the birthplace of Umno. One expects a lot more from a state that gave Umno its founding president, Datuk Onn Jaafar.

Perhaps Khaled might think he won this round against PR. In reality, its a fiasco, an own goal for BN. This childish decision and about-turn is the latest in a long line of blunders that won’t endear some of these ministers to the people. What more students who will vote in the future and can influence their parents to vote for the opposing side

These BN ministers are undermining the prime minister’s strategy of winning back support for his personal mandate to make a better Malaysia. They are petty-minded and just fumbling in scoring points at the expense of goodwill.

What a pity. If this is how they see “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now.”, then they have gone opposite of the concept’s tagline, like schoolboys who don’t understand anything and make it up as they go along.

We don’t need schoolboys in the Cabinet. We need real men, and gentlemen at that with the nation’s interests in their hearts.

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