KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has been told to stop the political persecution of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC).
Making the call, MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the DAP secretary-general had for the last one year interfered in the 50-year-old TAR UC, which is governed by all relevant laws.
“An officer from the Finance Ministry has on Nov 26 suddenly presented a letter at the TARC Board of Governors’ meeting stating that the board was illegal because the trustees are all MCA members.
“This was a shock. Since when is there a law or constitutional clause that prohibits a member of a political party from becoming a member of a foundation?” asked Dr Wee.
For this year and next year, a total of RM60mil in government matching grants have not been given to TAR UC.
Lim said he would only give TAR UC the grants if it severed ties with MCA.
The Barisan Nasional government had given RM1.0123bil matching grants to TAR UC between 1969 and 2018 to help keep its tuition fees affordable for needy students, including the time when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister for the first time.
Quoting China President Xi Jinping in the China-US trade war – “we do not cause trouble but we are not afraid of trouble” – Dr Wee said: “If Lim Guan Eng is not giving up on his acts, we will fight him until the end.
“I want to tell Lim Guan Eng that’s enough, we had enough! Stop suppressing TAR UC and stop the political persecution.
“TAR UC was founded by us (MCA).
“This higher education institution that we and the Chinese society support together has groomed at least 200,000 students, ” said Dr Wee in his hour-long and emotionally charged speech at the opening of the party’s 66th annual general meeting (AGM) here yesterday.
TAR UC was set up by MCA as Tunku Abdul Rahman College in 1969 to provide tertiary education to needy students who could not gain access to public universities and could not afford to go to private universities.
The college was elevated to a university college – TAR UC – in 2013.
Dr Wee said enrolment at TAR UC was between 6,000 and 8,000 students annually – most of them Chinese – which is close to the total number of Chinese students admitted each year by the 20 public universities in the country.
“As long as I am the president, I will be here to protect TAR UC from those who intend to tear it down.
“And I am sure all MCA members and those from the Chinese community will also do their part to safeguard this institution.
“Lim Guan Eng, you and your father (DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang) as well as your party have never donated a single sen to TAR UC.
“Please do not abuse your power, ” said Dr Wee, adding that Lim should stay out of TAR UC, and challenged him to a public debate to settle the issue once and for all.
Dr Wee said he was surprised that the issue of its allocation had gotten public support and concern – not only from the Chinese community but the non-Chinese as well.
He said MCA, which had gone to the streets to raise funds for TAR UC during the recent Tanjung Piai by-election, had received tremendous support from everybody.
Even Negri Sembilan PAS, he pointed out, took the initiative to raise funds for TAR UC during the by-election.
As of Nov 27, Dr Wee said MCA had raised RM223,974 for TAR UC.
The by-election saw Barisan candidate Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng from MCA defeating Pakatan Harapan candidate Karmaine Sardini by a 15,086-vote-majority.
Of the 52,986 voters, 57% are Malays, Chinese (42%) and Indians (1%).