PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) urges the Perikatan Nasional government to include grants for three non-profit private colleges in Budget 2021.
Huazong president Tan Sri T.C. Goh (pic) said over the last two years the previous Pakatan Harapan government had allocated RM2mil for the three colleges - Johor-based Southern University College (SUC), the New Era University College in Selangor, and Han Chiang University College in Penang.
"It is hoped that the present government would also provide annual grants for the three colleges," he said.
The request was part of Huazong's wishlist for Budget 2021, presented to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during a recent dialogue session.
Describing the meeting as historic, Goh said they left the meeting feeling happy because Muhyiddin was cordial and approachable.
Goh said Muhyiddin had always maintained a good rapport with Huazong when he was serving as the deputy prime minister during the Barisan Nasional rule.
Huazong also urged the government to recognise the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC), noting that the previous government had established an independent UEC fact-finding committee.
"The committee has submitted its findings to the Education Ministry," he said, hoping the long-standing issue would be resolved soon without affecting racial harmony.
Huazong's Budget wishlist also included annual grants for independent Chinese schools.
"The previous government had allocated RM12mil and RM15mil in Budget 2019 and Budget 2020, respectively, for all independent Chinese schools in the country.
"It is hoped that the present government would take a step further to include annual grants for all vernacular schools in Budget 2021," he said.
Huazong also requested annual allocations for the Huazong-initiated “Malaysian Chinese Museum” and the annual National Chinese Cultural Festival.
"This is necessary to lessen the financial burden on civil society, which is helping the government preserve and promote the nation’s unique cultures and traditions," he said.
Goh also called upon the government to reduce individual and company income tax to a reasonable rate to ease financial hardship faced in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Praising the government for providing various tax incentives under the recently implemented economic stimulus package, Goh said special attention and assistance should be given to the hardest-hit sectors including tourism, catering, entertainment, and construction.
He said proper standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be formulated to help the informal sectors, including those self-employed as well as those involved in the gig economy, to recover from the economic setback caused by the pandemic.
He said it was pertinent to encourage foreign direct investments to stimulate economic growth.
Huazong also called upon the government to launch a "Buy Malaysian Products" campaign to stimulate domestic consumption and to expedite economic recovery.
Huazong also supported the authorities' initiative to resume negotiations with Singapore on the stalled Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) mega project.
"The government should also go all out to implement the Bandar Malaysia project, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, and the Pan Borneo Highway project by allocating funds under Budget 2021 to check the slow progress," it said.
Goh said Huazong would continue serving as a "bridge" between the government and the Chinese community.
"It has always been Huazong’s position to amicably resolve issues via proper discourse, in the best interest of the nation," he said.
Goh noted that drawing up Budget 2021 would be challenging in view of the economic setbacks triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We propose that the government be more prudent in managing its finances by cutting down unnecessary expenses, stepping up the fight against corruption in the civil service, plugging leakages, and enhancing the overall government delivery system," he said.
Huazong also called for a political ceasefire, as a stable government was needed to tackle the economic challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.