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Provide better jobs instead of helping students pay loans, Maszlee tells state govts

06 Nov 2019 / 12:24 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: It is better for state governments to provide high-paying job opportunities for its people than to spend state fund to settle their student loans, said Maszlee Malik (pix).

The Education Minister said this was more sustainable for both the state and the graduates, after Sarawak announced it would spend RM30 million to help young Sarawakians pay back their National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loans next year.

“I think this (providing high-paying jobs) is more sustainable and will help increase the economic status of the rakyat. When the people have high-paying jobs, they will also be able to repay their PTPTN loans.

“What’s important is that we want continuity. So we are encouraging all state governments to open up more job opportunities and give higher salary to the people,” he told reporters

Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Yun Openg, when tabling the 2020 State Budget on Monday, had announced the RM30 million allocation to repay PTPTN loans, saying the state empathised with what its students were going through.

“We will set aside a sum of RM30 million for this purpose next year. It was brought to my attention that some Sarawakian graduates are having difficulties in making repayment for their PTPTN loan while there are those who are not able to secure the loan for various reasons,” he had said.

Maszlee said state governments that still wish to help repay PTPTN loans would be given tax exemptions, and that this had also been agreed and approved by the Finance Ministry.

On Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub’s politically-motivated statement made during his visit to a school recently, Maszlee refused to comment saying he had not watched the video yet.

Salahuddin had on Tuesday, when visiting Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Pei Chiao, told representatives of the school’s parent-teacher association (PTA) that the country would be in chaos if Barisan Nasional and PAS were given power.

The minister had also provided a RM5,000 fund to the school, which is located in Kukup Laut, Tanjung Piai, that many had criticised as this was made during the by-election campaign period.

Maszlee however saw no wrong in this, saying it was common for ministers to make contributions as requested by PTAs when they (ministers) visit schools.

“Wherever they go, they will usually make some donation based on the request of the PTAs and I think many Cabinet members and lawmakers are also always approached with such requests.

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