I will be willing to pay the highest political price as Finance Minister if this minimum RM30 million pledge to TARUC commencing from 2019, made in my capacity as Finance Minister is not delivered, when MCA surrenders political control over TARUC

DAP regrets that the MCA- controlled mass media in the Chinese and English press refused to print in full our statements on Tunku Abdul Rahman University College(TARUC), to enable MCA to distort the truth and principled position of the Federal government in separating public funding from political parties to prevent conflict of interest and abuse of power. This also demonstrates the danger of political control over the mass media and its direct threat to freedom of the press.

PH’s institutional reforms include separating government, mass media, business and education from political control, manipulation and interference. For this reason, public funding cannot be given to institutions that are controlled by political parties. This is the legal requirement in many democratic countries that adopts press freedom and practices rule of law.

I have stated repeatedly that the PH Federal Government has set aside and is willing to give Tunku Abdul Rahman University College(TARUC) at least RM30 million annually from 2019 onwards, it is MCA that refused to take up the offer by giving up its political control of TARUC. Let me reiterate again that the government, DAP or any political party has no interest or intention of taking over control of TARUC.

So long as MCA gives up control of TARUC to the main TARUC Students Alumni Association and Chinese community, without any political background, public funding of at least RM30 million annually beginning from 2019 shall be restored immediately. This principle of giving funding of at least RM30 million annually from 2019 onwards to TARUC when it is run by professionals and not controlled by MCA, is not only the stand of the Minister of Finance but also endorsed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The latest endorsement is in writing by the Prime Minister on 15th October and confirmed by the Prime Minister’s Office on 21st October 2019. In other words, at least RM30 million annual funds are available commencing from 2019 once MCA gives up political control of TARUC, it is MCA that stubbornly refuses to accept it.

MCA President Wee Ka Siong is desperately trying to distract the issue by stating that this minimum RM30 million pledge annually to TARUC is a “sandiwara” because it is not included in the Budget 2019 and 2020. As proof he cites that TARUC was only allocated RM5.5 million in the 2019 Budget and RM1 million in the 2020 Budget.

Is Wee so ignorant as a former Cabinet Minister that he does not know how the government Budget works? Then why are there major development expenditure items in the Budget with an allocation of only RM10? I do not need to explain further to spare him embarrassment over his incompetence.

To avoid unnecessary political polemics over whether this minimum annual pledge of RM30 million to TARUC is genuine or not, let me state this in clear and unequivocal terms. “I will be willing to pay the highest political price as Finance Minister if this minimum RM30 million pledge to TARUC commencing from 2019, made in my capacity as Finance Minister is not delivered, when MCA surrenders political control over TARUC.”

There is therefore no more excuse nor reason for MCA not to give up political control of TARUC, so that TARUC will not lose out on the minimum RM30 million annually from 2019.

DAP SECRETARY-GENERAL & MP FOR BAGAN
Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 15th November 2019