PETALING JAYA: Transparency and due diligence will be exercised by the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) management in disbursing the RM22mil received from Tarcian Alumni Association Education Trust Fund (TAA-ETF), says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
The MCA president said this in response to TAA-ETF’s announcement that it had deposited RM22mil into TAR UC’s bank account.
Out of the amount, RM21mil was allocated for student bursaries while RM1mil was allocated for staff appreciation awards.
Dr Wee said only five days had been given to the TAR UC management to disburse the RM600 achievement award each to its staff members.
“Without any advance notice (to TAR UC), TAA-ETF had transferred the RM600 appreciation award for each staff member.
“It only informed the university college of such a move on the next day and immediately told the whole world about it.
“It also imposed a condition for TAR UC to disburse the RM600 appreciation award to each of its staff members.
“Such a move is totally unprofessional and shows no respect for the TAR UC management. Many of the staff members have returned to their hometowns for Chinese New Year, and hence, it was impossible to get this done within a short period of time, ” he said in a Facebook post Thursday (Jan 23).
Dr Wee, who is also TAR UC Board of Trustees chairman, said there were also questions about the RM600 achievement award, such as who will be making the EPF contribution for the award.
“Is it an additional bonus? As a non-employer, is TAA-ETF supposed to distribute bonuses?
“Who is going to contribute to their EPF on this basis? Does TAR UC need to include it in their employees’ EA form when filing for tax?” he asked.
He maintained that any funds given by TAA-ETF should be considered a donation.
“TAR UC welcomes all forms of donations, but donors must respect the management. They are not supposed to transmit the donation before informing us about it and (then) ask the university college to follow the terms and conditions they have set, ” he said.
Dr Wee added that the TAR UC Board of Trustees had previously decided to offer staff members two months’ worth of bonus, even before the TAA-ETF announced the RM600 appreciation award.
“I had, on Jan 8 this year, called for a Board of Trustees meeting and decided to distribute a two-month bonus to reward the employees. The approved bonus amounted to RM18.16mil.
“Subsequently, TAR UC announced this news to all employees and banked in the bonus, ” he said, adding that this occurred before TAA-ETF had decided on Jan 19 to disburse the achievement awards.
He added that the TAR UC management had decided to disburse the bonuses despite a shortfall in operating expenses and no matching grant from the government for the institution’s expenditure in 2019.
Meanwhile, the Board of Trustees of TAR UC also confirmed in a press statement that the RM22mil donation from TAA-ETF has been received.
It maintained that TAR UC management will continue to request for the matching grant of up to RM60mil per year, which the Federal Government had agreed to since 2013.
“Notwithstanding the donation from TAA-ETF, TARC Education Foundation shall continue to pursue the claiming of the matching grant from the government, ” it said in a statement Thursday (Jan 23).
TAR UC clarified that it will act as an intermediary to disburse the funds on behalf of TAA-ETF upon their instruction only.
“TAR UC shall not be held liable in law or in equity pursuant to the RM600 disrbusement.
“TAR UC shall not be held liable for any EPF, Socso, tax or other statutory deductions attributable to the said RM600 disbursement, ” it said.
TAA-ETF had earlier said it will work together with TAR UC management on how to best disburse the government grant, in accordance with the rules set by the Pakatan Harapan government.
“Since TAA-ETF must meet the terms and conditions on the grant disbursement set forth by the Finance Ministry, TAA-ETF will follow up with TAR UC on resolving the granting lists or disbursement particulars list, in consideration of data privacy and Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) regulations, where relevant and practical.
“Set aside politics, let TAA-ETF and TAR UC work together on the government grant disbursement mechanism, ” the TAA-ETF said in a statement Wednesday (Jan 22).
Data privacy concerns had previously ben raised by the TAR UC management concerning TAA-ETF’s demand for a full staff list of the university college.
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