Dr Wee: RM40mil allocation to trust fund is not the promised matching grant

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Dec 2019

KUALA LUMPUR: The Finance Ministry's allocation procedure for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) continues to draw public concern.

This follows the RM40mil announcement by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to be allocated to the trust fund managed by TARCian Alumni Association (TAA).

“He just announced whatever allocation (according to) his whim and fancy. When he is happy, he will just increase another RM10mil, but the crux of the issue all this while is the procedure (of the allocation)," said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic) to reporters at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday (Dec 4).

“It was not even listed in Budget 2019 or Budget 2020. This is the first, procedural wise, that people have questioned. Many MPs have also questioned," he added.

The Ayer Hitam lawmaker said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik had failed to answer the questions he raised on the matter during winding-up on the debate on Budget 2020.

He also said Pakatan Harapan had probably “learnt its lesson” after its loss at the Tanjung Piai by-election last month.

“But of course, this RM40mil is not the direct grant given to TAR UC. Now, you bypass the university itself and give it to an NGO (TAA).

“I don't know how they are going to disburse the money, but it should not be construed as the matching grant that they (government) had promised to TAR UC.

“This is entirely different from what was promised,” he added.

Dr Wee said he had no objection if the funds were disbursed to help students, but the issue of the matching grant to the varsity remained unanswered.

It was reported that a total of RM60mil in government matching grants have yet to be given to TAR UC.

Lim had said that he would only give TAR UC the grants if the institution severed ties with MCA.

In a statement earlier on Wednesday, Lim said the RM40mil would be allocated to TAA when the trust fund was approved, which was expected to be by the end of December.

Previously, Putrajaya had announced an allocation of at least RM30mil annually for the trust fund for the benefit of TAR UC and its students.

However for the year 2019, Putrajaya said it would allocate RM40mil.

Lim said the RM40mil allocation would “rebut once and for all lies by irresponsible elements that such an allocation was illegal”.

“They have not explained why giving RM40mil for the benefit of TAR UC students is illegal but apparently not illegal (are) the tens of billions of ringgit stolen from 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd),” he said.

Lim added that TAA should be given every opportunity to perform its duty and demonstrate how it could deliver on its term of reference to utilise the funds for the benefit of TAR UC and the welfare of its students.

“TAA is made up of former TAR UC students who are outstanding successful professionals and business entrepreneurs.

“TAA believes in running TAR UC as an educational institution professionally that is independent and separate from political parties and politicians,” he said.

Apart from TAA, Lim added, the proposed trustees would comprise one representative each from TAR UC and the Finance Ministry.

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