GEORGE TOWN: MCA has called on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to address the important issues concerning TAR UC grants instead of dwelling on trivial matters.
Its president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) said although Lim had issued 15 statements about the TAR UC grant, he had side-stepped his questions from the beginning.
“If the government should not be funding TAR UC, why did he, Teresa Kok (DAP’s Seputeh MP) and Teo Kok Seong (Rasah MP) bombard the government for funding too little in 2017?” he said.
Under Budget 2019, Lim did not allocate any annual matching grant for TAR UC. The university college had been receiving the matching grants since 1969, and they were used for operating expenses and 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 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 benefitting middle-class families?” he said.