KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Putrajaya channels RM30 million each year into a fund managed by the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College Alumni Association (TAA), Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said today amid allegations of a funding blockade.
Lim stressed that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration did not halt financial support for one of the most esteemed education institutions for the Chinese community, but only set conditions for the fund disbursement.
“The government approves at least RM30 million yearly for a trust fund managed by the TAA for TARUC and its students’ benefit,” the minister said in an official statement.
“It is suggested that a ‘Matching Grant Trust Fund For TARUC’ be established by the TAA immediately.”
The proposed trust fund, to be headed by members of the TAA, student representatives, and a Ministry of Finance official, is seen as a bid to remove political influence from the institution.
Lim had previously set conditions for funding in an attempt to force MCA leaders out of TARUC.
The PH administration said it wants the practice of political patronage financing to stop, and that TARUC will only receive cash support if all MCA figures there quit their posts.
The RM30 million allocated to the trust fund can be channelled to TARUC if MCA cedes control.
“Previously, the government had set the condition that there be no political influence in TARUC for it to continue receiving the matching grant worth RM30 million a year,” Lim reiterated today.
“The condition is based on the principle that public fund should not be channelled into businesses, NGOs, media or education institutions under political parties’ control.”
MCA leaders in response to the new condition claimed the funding blockade was an act of political vengeance that punished students.
Its president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong also denied suggestions that TARUC was cash rich, after a DAP assemblyman Chong Zhe Min claimed the institution had a net cash surplus of RM97.22 million in 2018.