If non-oil producing Turkey can give free uni-education, Malaysia can too: Anwar
In what appears to be further confirmation of Pakatan Rakyat's promise to provide free tertiary education to every Malaysian, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim pointed out there was no reason oil-rich Malaysia to deny free education.
Speaking to a group of young professionals in Subang Jaya, the former Finance minister alluded to non-oil producing Turkey which gives free education to its citizens, while Malaysia which earns some RM90 billion annually from its oil exports had no such policy.
Anwar , who is a close friend of Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan, said the latter's government provides free education from primary to university level - a policy which PR has pledged to implement if it came to power.
The coalition's recent announcement to abolish study loans under the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) took central stage after it drew strong support from students group and youth, many of whom criticised the government's bailing out of tycoons but punished students who defaulted their study loans which spanned several decades to re-pay.
“When we talk about abolishing PTPTN, the main issue is free education for all especially to the poor. It's not about transfering Petronas money to pay off PTPTN," said Anwar, touching on the national oil company's profits which PR leaders had said could be one way to help students settle their debts.
Anwar also said the PTPTN pledge was among the most commented on his Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Explaining further, Anwar said the abolishment of PTPTN would however not result in the corporation's current staff rendered jobless, adding that they could be absorbed to the relevant ministries such as the Education and Higher Education ministries.
Several students groups have said they will be organising a rally in the capital on April 14 to put pressure on the government to do away with the study loans.
The rally, to be held at Dataran Merdeka, aims to gather some 5,000 youth from all over the country.
PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu had prior to this pledged the party's support for any rallies organised by students against PTPTN.
“When the students organise the rally, PAS will give its support,” he said.