Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Pack up and leave, deputy minister tells protesters
The students who have been camping out at Dataran Merdeka for four days now were today urged by Deputy Higher Education Minister Saifuddin Abdullah to end their protest out of respect for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
"On April 21, Dataran Merdeka is to host a royal concert in honour of the 14th Agong. Students would do well in respecting the Agong in this context," he said in a statement.
While he respects their right to demonstrate, Saifuddin (right) said, he believes that the time has come for them to dismantle their camps as their message has been heard.
"Assemblies, demonstrations are part of democracy and I have no problem with that except the bunga kematian(to the prime minister and the minister of higher education), which I strongly condemn," he said.
Saifuddin also commended the students' "boldness in expressing themselves this way", although he disagreed with their demand for the abolition of National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) loan.
Instead of abolishing it, he said, the management of PTPTN should be improved and that the Umno Youth proposals on this should be "religiously studied".
Umno Youth has held a roundtable discussion on this matter and suggested that the burdensome administration fees be removed and the loan terms be revised.
However, PKR is proposing that no more loans be disbursed, and that any outstanding loans be written off. Those who have paid back all or part of their student loans are to be reimbursed in terms of rebates.
PKR also proposed free tertiary education in terms of fees, and for the government to build 10 more public institutions of higher learning, where the fees and accommodation costs would be paid for by the government.