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Scapegoat

  • Unfortunately, with significantly squeezed allocation and an order not to raise tuition fees, UTAR, along with our young students, will eventually fall victim to vicious politicking.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

Some people still don't get it: the Chinese community is unhappy with the slashed budgetary allocation for UTAR not because it supports MCA, but our young generation, especially those in the lower and middle-income groups.

The best way for UTAR not to raise its fees is to increase government allocation, not to force MCA to sell its assets to make up for the shortfall.

We can only demand MCA to do this if in the past the party exploited UTAR for its own gain. Otherwise, no one should put all the blame on MCA!

It is up to MCA how it wants to make use of its own assets, and this actually needs the nod of shareholders.

Indeed MCA has RM580 million of reserve, common sense tells us that this reserve is for future development use, such as setting up new campuses.

The reserve should not be used for operating expenses or it will be depleted in a few years' time.

Why should the government provide allocation to UTAR?

The government's revenue mainly comes from taxpayers (RM130 billion in 2018) -- most of whom are Chinese Malaysians. Mahathir once said Chinese contributed more than 80% of taxes.

If the government is going to provide RM3.7 billion for MARA and scholarships, the RM5.5 million set aside for UTAR is outright pathetic and inconceivable.

I'm not trying to look at things from a racial perspective. I have never questioned the RM3.7 billion allocation for MARA to help finance the studies of underprivileged Malay families.

For the past few decades, the government has spent hundreds of billions of ringgit to nurture large numbers of Malay elites, thanks to taxpayer contributions.

If the government can take such a good care of Malay students, why can't it offer a little more help to the Chinese?

Of course, finance minister Lim Guan Eng argues that MARA is a government institution while UTAR belongs to MCA, and that UTAR was established through an Umno-MCA accord and therefore does not have anything to do with the PH government.

This is not quite true!

If not because of MARA's 100% Malay intake and strict racial quotas of public university admission, there wasn't even a need for TAR College.

TARC was some sort of political compromise that provided an opportunity for otherwise desperate Chinese students, to be implemented through MCA, a component of the then government.

TARC and now UTAR should therefore be national asset with MCA as its caretaker.

It is a fact that political background has never been a criterion in UTAR's student intake, and MCA's political ideology has never made its way into the curriculum.

To be precise, MCA itself does not own UTAR, whose statutory owner is UTAR Education Foundation which has ten trustees, five appointed by MCA and five being government representatives.

The foundation has a clear mission, to run UTAR professionally as a provider of high quality education, not a profit-driven organization.

Unfortunately, with significantly squeezed allocation and an order not to raise tuition fees, UTAR, along with our young students, will eventually fall victim to vicious politicking.

 

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