KUALA LUMPUR: MCA has pointed out that several Pakatan Harapan leaders were beneficiaries of MCA-linked institutions of higher learning.
MCA central committee member Datuk Chew Kok Woh named ministers Teresa Kok, Datuk Salahuddin Ayub and Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail as the beneficiaries.
He said even Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow and state executive councillor Chong Eng were products of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College, then known as KTAR, and now TAR UC.
Chew expressed disappointment that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had removed matching grants to TAR UC.
He said although TAR UC and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman were set up by MCA, they were never used for political reasons, saying all the graduates could verify TAR UC and UTAR were apolitical.
He said these institutions were professionally run, adding Lim’s decision spoke volumes about his “politics of vindictiveness”.
In fact, he said, the decision was a timely reminder that DAP had done nothing for education except to criticise.
“What has DAP done for Chinese education? Name us one,” he said in a statement.
He said DAP should not punish parents and students by depriving them of affordable education because of political reasons.
Chew feared that Lim’s action would lead to higher tuition fees at these institutions.
He said many parents, who could not afford private colleges and universities, depended on TAR UC and UTAR.
Chew said the two institutions had produced more than 180,000 graduates of high calibre since its inception in 1969, while UTAR has 56,000 graduates since 2005.
“We need to put aside politics to help Malaysians, especially those from the lower-income background,” he said.
Chew said TAR UC and UTAR graduates, including these Pakatan leaders, could vouch that these two institutions were not “MCA indoctrination centres”.
It was recently announced by Lim that the government would only allocate a RM5.5mil development fund for UTAR and TAR UC, instead of a RM30mil matching grant for TAR UC.
Lim insisted that both education institutes break off ties with MCA before the government provides more allocation for the two institutions.
In the Dewan Rakyat, Ayer Hitam MP and MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong debated with Lim, stating that the matching grants were vital to help ensure lower student fees for the two institutions.
On Facebook, Dr Wee expressed his disappointment in the Finance Minister’s reply, adding that TAR UC was wholly owned by the TARC Education Foundation and should not be seen as part of MCA’s assets, and that the university college also submitted audited accounts to the Education Ministry every year.
Dr Wee also told reporters in Parliament House that TAR UC might have to increase its fees to cover operational costs.
Founded in February 1969 as KTAR, the institute was upgraded to university college status in May 2013 and renamed TAR UC.
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