20 August 2013

Student activists are planning to hold a demonstration to protest the announcement by Education Minister II Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh to link PTPTN loan defaulters to Bank Negara's credit bureau database.

Adam Adli Abdul Halim, a well-known student-rights activist, said university students did not take the issue lightly, adding that they will not let it go without doing anything.

"We are discussing it. We will definitely protest," Adam told The Malaysian Insider today.

Idris had announced yesterday, PTPTN's move to link its list of defaulters to the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), a computerised database system under Bank Negara used by banks to assess prospective borrowers' financial profile.

The announcement was met with a huge outcry from the Opposition, non-governmental organisations and students, which prompted the minister to insist that the move will not "victimise" students.

"We will make sure that nobody would be at a loss. PTPTN, students and the country would be happy," he told The Malaysian Insider today.

Adam, however, pointed out that the ministry's move showed that the PTPTN was never set up for the students' welfare nor help anyone, but it was a trap to profit from the students' suffering.

"After the announcement, many student groups and other bodies like political parties have met to discuss and make a decision on how to respond to this."

"It is not right to list down the individuals who owe money to PTPTN in the CCRIS as in a declining economy and difficulty in getting jobs, students should be given the opportunity to take loans to start a business. Blacklisting them will simply mean they will be denied access to funds,” he said.

He argued that the CCRIS listing will not solve any problems, but instead showed how short-sighted the minister was.

Meanwhile, Solidariti Mahasiswa Malaysia (SMM) chairman Safwan Anang said his group will try and meet Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin to discuss the issue.

"We plan to meet Khairy  and bring this matter to him. If that does not work, we will protest again," he added.

"We object to the CCRIS listing as it is more burdensome. While Khairy wants to solve the issue of bankruptcy among the young people, this other minister wants to blacklist us."

Adam, in sharing Safwan's sentiments, said: "This latest development shows that Idris Jusoh is not the right person to look after the education portfolio, especially higher education. He does not understand student affairs and their welfare."

In April last year, Adam, Safwan along with 300 students held a demonstration at Dataran Merdeka, calling for the abolishment of the PTPTN.

They marched, carrying pictures of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the-then Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Khaled Nordin with wreaths around it as a show of protest.

The group then set up tents at the historic Dataran Merdeka and stayed on until the Bersih 3.0 gathering on July 28.

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