By FARA AISYAH / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik (picture) has denied that the appointment of his special advisor Wan Saiful Wan Jan as the National Higher Education Fund Corp (PTPTN) chairman was political.
He also said that several candidates had declined to take up the post, adding that the appointment was a contingency measure, in efforts to fulfil Pakatan Harapan’s election pledge.
“It was not a political appointment, but rather a burden for him. We contacted several candidates, especially those with financial background, but they declined to take up the post.
“Wan Saiful felt the need to take up the risk as time was running out for Pakatan Harapan to fulfil our manifesto with very limited sources, particularly regarding PTPTN,” Maszlee told reporters at a press conference in Putrajaya yesterday.
The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs former CEO’s two-year appointment as the education fund chairman came into effect on June 18.
Wan Saiful took over the role from Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah, who resigned about a week after Pakatan Harapan won the 14th General Election.
During the election campaign, Pakatan Harapan pledged to allow PTPTN borrowers to defer payment if they earned less than RM4,000 a month. Since the manifesto announcement was made in January, PTPTN has seen a drop in its average monthly collection.
Wan Saiful recently said that the average monthly loan collection was more than RM300 million per month, but since January, the monthly collection has not exceeded RM300 million and has dropped to only RM200.45 million in May.
Wan Saiful added that a final announcement on the PTPTN issue would be made by Aug 17, 2018.
Meanwhile, Maszlee said the ministry will be reviewing the construction of 10 new Chinese primary schools in Johor and Selangor, which were approved by the previous administration last year.
The five new schools to be built in Johor are SJK (C) Kuek Ho Yao, Tebrau; SJK (C) Sim Mow Yu, Plentong; SJK (C) Tun HS Lee, Ulu Tiram; SJK (C) Tan Kah Kee, Iskandar Puteri; and SJK (C) Cheah Fah, Iskandar Nusajaya.
The five schools to be developed in Selangor are SJK (C) Lee Loy Seng, Kuala Selangor; SJK (C) Sunsuria, Dengkil; SJK (C) Tun Ong Yoke Lin, Kuala Langat; SJK (C) Tun Lim Chong Eu, Puncak Alam; and SJK (C) Too Joon Hing, Sepang.
“We will proceed with the relocation of six schools, but will be reviewing the construction of the 10 new Chinese primary schools.
“However, we will proceed with the two schools which have had their groundbreaking ceremony. As for the rest, we will do more research based on the current financial situation and transparency as there are a few projects that are politically motivated.”
The six schools that will be relocated are SJK (C) Poay Chai, Kedah, which will be moved to Taman Bukit Indah, Johor; SJK (C) Poi Min, Perak, to Puchong Perdana, Selangor; SJK (C) Aik Hua, Perak, to Negri Sembilan; SJK (C) Ladang Regent, Negri Sembilan, to Bandar Elmina, Selangor; SJK (C) Panching in Kuantan, Pahang, to Kota SAS, Pahang; and SJK (C) Ladang Grisek in Ledang, Johor to Taman Kota Masai, Johor.
Maszlee also announced that the ministry is offering 1,000 places in the 2018/2019 session matriculation programme for Chinese students who excelled in their Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, who are from the bottom 40 lower income group.