SIBU, Oct 27: The Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has broken yet another electoral promise on tertiary education, alleged Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) Dudong branch chairman Wong Ching Yong.
According to Wong in a statement, PH promised to the rakyat in the last General Election (GE14) that should they form the next federal government, they will take good care of Tunku Abdul Rahman University (UTAR) and TAR University College (TAR UC).
“Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng repeatedly made the promises during the GE14 campaign. He even promised that if PH wins in the GE14, each TAR University College students will receive RM1,000 every year,” Wong said at a dialogue session with Grand Heights residents, according to the statement.
A video clip showing Lim promising the rakyat during campaign was also played by the SUPP Dudong branch youth team for residents to watch.
Wong, a chartered accountant by profession, added that to make matters worse, the allocation for TAR University College was reduced from RM30 million to RM5 million in the PH government’s first budget 2019.
In the 2020 budget, he claimed it was further slashed to RM1 million.
“Presently there are about 30,000 students studying in TAR University College and with an allocation of RM1 million for 2020. It means each student would only get RM35 a year or RM3 a month or one sen a day. The reduction in budget shows that PH particularly the Democratic Action Party (DAP) is more interested in its political struggle against the Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) at the expense of the welfare of students who are mostly from middle to low income tier families,” he opined, adding that since the formation of TAR University College in 1969, the tuition fees has always been the cheapest and most affordable for students, irrespective of race and religion in Malaysia.
Wong quoted a TAR pamphlet that for 2019, total tuition fees payable for an accounting degree is RM35,000 which is 50 per cent cheaper than other private universities in Sarawak.
He also disclosed that after SUPP recently exposed Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) suffering a huge deduction amounting to RM24.805 million, which represents a whopping 58 per cent reduction in the 2020 budget, the state PH leaders hurriedly pointed out that the reduction was related to development expenditure.
“They said the operating expenditure of Unimas has actually increased from RM211,578,000 in the 2019 budget to RM 216,290,000 in the 2020 budget.”
Wong pointed out that the so-called increment in operating expenditure was only RM4.712 million.
“In other words, Unimas still suffer a net reduction of approximately RM20 million in fund allocation. This is simple arithmetic and the state PH is trying to look for excuses to cover up the mistakes which are embarrassing themselves.
“The state PH leaders owe Sarawakians an explanation why the net allocation to Unimas was reduced by some RM20 million and they must ensure that Unimas will be on par with UniSabah (Universiti Malaysia Sabah) as far as fund allocation is concerned,” Wong added. — DayakDaily