KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) has hit out at Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok for saying that the price of palm oil fruits had hit RM435 per tonne.
"I am a son of a smallholder. And if we look at the actual price, smallholders will receive RM322 per tonne or a maximum of RM325 per tonne as of Oct 31," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Thursday (Nov 14).
It was reported that Kok said at the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) briefing session to Johor oil palm growers on Monday (Nov 11) that the price of palm oil fruits had hit RM435 per tonne in September and that it was on the rise.
The price of palm oil is a hot topic in the Tanjung Piai by-election as the commodity's prolonged low price has hit the predominantly agricultural constituency badly.
Dr Wee, who is also Ayer Hitam MP, said that Kok's remarks had angered smallholders in Tanjung Piai and Pontian.
"This is a fact and I do not understand whether the minister is confused.
"The price of RM435 is for the manufacturers.
"And when we sell a bunch, it will be transported to the factories by the wholesalers.
"This is a normal process for the smallholders," added Dr Wee.
"That is why the price is between RM322 and RM325 per tonne. It will not reach RM435 per tonne.
"There will be some transportation cost by wholesalers.
"If she does not understand that, it will be hard," he said.
On a separate issue, Dr Wee also dismissed allegations made by DAP that the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) had made a profit of close to RM97mil.
He said the expenditure of the institution outweighs the income.
"When you compare the fee we get and our expenditure, there is a deficit of some RM11mil.
"Yet, DAP claims that we are benefiting from it. It has nothing to do with us (MCA)," he said in a press conference on Thursday.
Dr Wee added that some DAP members claimed that TAR UC has a surplus of RM45mil but that is simply due to the compensation paid by the government for taking over its land.
"It is not an income from the operation," he said.
Dr Wee added that TAR UC is different from public universities as its development for building campuses and facilities depend on the endowment fund.
Any future developments depend on the endowment fund, he said.
Dr Wee also questioned Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's announcement that funding of at least RM30mil annually beginning from this year shall be restored immediately so long as MCA gives up control of TAR UC.
"It doesn't make sense. We debate long hours here to approve the Budget but there is no details or breakdown of it in the Budget.
"That RM30mil has to be approved by Parliament, there is nothing mentioned in the Budget so how can he say such things," Dr Wee asked.
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