KUALA LUMPUR – Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has asked the board of trustees of MCA-owned Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) and Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) to relinquish their posts if they want more government funding.
This comes a day after Utar received only RM1 million under the 2020 Budget.
Lim said if MCA relinquishes its control over the institutions, Putrajaya will immediately reinstate funding of RM30 million for this year and next year.
But he said the problem is they do not want to relinquish control.
“Only 10 trustees … are they more important than thousands of students? Your (trustees’) time is up. It is time to let them run by professionals, former students of Utar,” he told reporters at the Parliament building today.
He said Umno and MIC also do not get funding.
Lim said this is in line with what Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has also said, that public funds should be separated from politics.
He said political parties should not have control over education institutions and the media and, therefore, should not receive public funding.
Lim said the PH government has to draw a line to ensure reforms. “If we cannot stand firm on this principle, then what can the new government do with reforms?” he asked.
He said MCA owns The Star but political parties controlling newspapers is wrong “as it is not compatible with press freedom”.
He also said Koperasi Jayadiri Malaysia Bhd (Kojadi) was funded by the previous government and “they were involved in 1MDB”.
The PH government, he said, does not want a repeat of such incidences.
Yesterday, MCA president Wee Ka Siong railed against Putrajaya’s failure to allocate funds for Utar and TAR UC, saying the government should set aside political differences.
Wee said the decision to not set aside funds for TAR UC was grossly unfair to its 28,000 students, who come from poor families.
He said Utar had previously received RM5.5 million for development, which has now been reduced to RM1 million.
“During the previous government, for 50 years, we received RM1.35 billion in matching grants. But now not a single sen is given to TAR UC,” he said
Wee said despite the party having set up the institutions in the 1960s, it never cared about politics in education.