KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 26 — Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh pledged today that there will be no increase in fees for undergraduates at public universities despite a reduced allocation in Budget 2016.
Idris, who was speaking at a press conference here, was responding to a question on a possible hike in tuition fees for university students after allocations were reduced by 16.5 per cent.
“For undergraduates in public universities, we would not allow any fee hike,” he told the media conference after a discussion earlier on easier entry options for international students.
He also repeated his previous statement that the reduced allocation would push public universities to be more efficient and less dependent on the government in terms of generating funds.
“Our public universities are too dependent on the government, they are 80 to 90 per cent dependent on us. It is not sustainable. They can get money through consultation, through research, get money through other ways,” Idris added.
Opposition lawmakers have hit out at the reduction in allocation, saying it may cause tuition fees to increase by 20 per cent next year.
According to PKR’s Sim Tze Tsin recently, the RM1.44 billion reduction in funds will affect all but one of the country’s public universities, with the University of Malaya (UM) — the country’s oldest university — set to be hardest hit.
UM will have its allocation cut by 27 per cent for next year, losing over RM175 million from the RM638 million it was given this year. UiTM will also see its current RM2.62 billion allocation fall to RM1.99 billion.
Putrajaya tabled its 19th consecutive deficit budget last Friday with an aim to reduce its chronic overspending to 3.1 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) from the expected 3.2 per cent this year despite falling revenue.