GEORGE TOWN: MCA has told Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng not to dwell on trivial issues to evade important matters on TAR UC.
Its president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) said although Lim had issued 15 statements about the TAR UC grant, he had avoided his questions since the beginning.
“If the government should not be funding TAR UC, why did he, (DAP’s Seputeh MP) Teresa Kok and (Rasah MP) Teo Kok Seong bombarded the government for funding too little in 2017?” he asked.
Under Budget 2019, Lim did not allocate any annual matching grant for TAR UC, which it had received from government yearly since 1969.
Matching grants are used for operating expenses and help to keep tuition fees low.
Dr Wee said in October, TAR UC had applied to adjust its tuition fee cap limit as it had to cope with inflation, adjustment of staff’s salaries as well as upgrade university equipment.
“On Nov 2, further adjustment of fees was made as Lim had cut off the administrative allocation to 'zero'.
“In other words, the application to adjust its tuition fee cap limit had been done in October and it is a legal practice to do it every three years and almost every college does this.
“As for the further adjustment in November, it is due to unforeseen reasons and it just happened for the first time in 50 years,” he said.
Dr Wee said if TAR UC were to take countermeasures such as increasing the number of new students and reducing the budget for each department, it would be able to lengthen the shortcomings and control the increase of the tuition fees to a certain extent.
“This is so that TAR UC can continue benefiting the Chinese society and uphold its status as a high quality yet inexpensive university college,” he said.
Dr Wee also asked Lim to provide evidence to prove that MCA had intervened with TAR UC’s academic freedom.
“Even Malay scholar Prof Dr Mohamad Tajuddin Mohamad Rasdil, who is a DAP member, supported MCA’s education philosophy,” he said.
Dr Wee also challenged Lim to abolish the admission restrictions for public universities.
“Is Lim trying to maintain the admission restrictions into public universities while suppressing TAR UC, which is benefiting middle-class families?” he said.