PONTIAN: Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong has lambasted Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for allegedly misrepresenting facts on the government’s denial of allocation to the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC).
The MCA president said Lim is “eating his own words” for making numerous statements prior to GE14 that Pakatan Harapan, when it comes into power, will still assist TAR UC and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) without considering their background.
“What is happening now that he has become the finance minister?
“He was the one who bragged that MCA can be thrown into the bin for only getting so much of allocation for the tertiary institutions.
“He also said it out loud that Pakatan will still give allocation to TAR UC and Utar without looking at the background because they emphasised the development of human capital
“But suddenly things have changed because of political revenge and his dislike for MCA, ” he told a press conference at the Pontian MCA by-election operation centre here yesterday.
Dr Wee was responding to Lim’s remark during a ceramah in Pekan Nanas on Saturday night, where he said MCA should relinquish its control over UTAR and TAR UC.
Lim reportedly said that politics and education must be separated, adding that the government has planned RM60mil in funding for TAR UC if MCA cedes ownership of the institutions.
If Lim is still interested in fulfilling his promises, Dr Wee said the DAP secretary-general can give RM1,000 in assistance to each of the 28,000 TAR UC undergraduates.
“As long as the students get assistance, it is totally fine. We do not want the credit and I have said this before in the Dewan Rakyat, ” he said, adding that Lim should “stop playing politics”.
Dr Wee, who is Ayer Hitam MP, recalled that when TAR UC was upgraded from TAR College in 2013, the government had, through a Cabinet decision, approved a ceiling allocation of not more than RM60mil to the institution.
“This is the foundation (of the allocation). Therefore, it is the new government’s responsibility to help, ” he added.
Dr Wee said MCA had fought for some 50 years to secure matching grants for TAR UC and had received an average of RM30mil to RM60mil annually under the previous government.
In Budget 2018, TAR UC received a RM30mil matching grant, but in Budget 2019, Lim announced only RM5.5mil for TAR UC’s development fund.
In Budget 2020 announced last month, not only was the matching grant for TAR UC not reinstated, but its annual development funds were also cut to RM1mil from RM5.5mil.
On a related matter, Dr Wee also expressed disappointment with Penang exco Chong Eng, who is a former TARC student, for saying she “paid her tuition fees just like any other international colleges”.
“Since when did TAR UC charge tuition fees like any international college? Never!
“Ask 200,000 other alumni who studied there, until today the institution is still charging the cheapest fees among all private colleges.
“It is really sad to hear such a disheartening remark from a former graduate, ” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Wee also questioned DAP’s arrangement for its Johor chairman Liew Chin Tong to assist Pakatan candidate Karmaine Sardini as his Chinese community representative should he win the by-election.
“Why does the candidate need Liew, who is a deputy minister, to help him serve the Chinese community in Tanjung Piai?
“Isn’t this clear that the candidate is incapable of taking care of the people of all races, but only his own in the constituency if he won?
“If they claim that supporting MCA means supporting racism in Tanjung Piai, then what is this?, ” he said.