No resolution in sight for TARUC’s funding problem, say observers

Tan Yih Pey Angie Tan

Analysts and observers say the funding issue for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College is unlikely to be resolved soon as MCA and DAP butt heads over it. – TARUC pic, November 23, 2019.

NO resolution is in sight for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College’s (TARUC) funding problem, as both MCA and DAP has turned it into a political turf war, say observers

Yoong Suan of the United Chinese School Teachers’ Association said the university’s funding problem has reached a standstill and could not be resolved unless both MCA and DAP stops playing politics.

Yoong told The Malaysian Insight although MCA maintains that it does not meddle with the affairs of TARUC, its members frequently appear as guests at the institution’s events.

“Although MCA says it does not interfere with the administration and academics of the university, the party’s representatives are usually seen at the university’s events,” he said.

“Hence, it cannot be justified when they say there are no links to the party.”

He said the turf war between DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is finance minister, and MCA will leave a negative image and the college belongs to the Chinese community regardless of its ownership.

“The university provides education for the Chinese community. Even if it belongs to MCA, it is still a college for the Chinese community,” Yoong said.

He said it would be best for the two warring parties to take a step back and prioritise the interests of the Chinese community instead.

If the issue is not resolved, Yoong said, the institution may have to turn to crowdfunding to raise money.

Yesterday, in a move to ease the current impasse, Lim announced plans for the Tunku Abdul Rahman Alumni Association (TAA) to manage the money for TARUC via a trust fund.

“It is proposed that TAA set up the trust fund as soon as possible, with trustees from the TAA from among the students and a representative from the Finance Ministry.

“The trust will manage the funds every year without the involvement of the government or any political party, whether MCA or even from Pakatan Harapan,” Lim said in a statement.

The RM30 million Putrajaya has set aside for TARUC will be disbursed to the trust, once MCA gives up control of the institution, he added.

“RM30 million for 2019 will be paid to the trust fund once it is set up, and another RM30 million will be paid next year.

“The funds from the trust fund can still be disbursed to TAR UC but is subject to the condition that the MCA leadership relinquishes ownership and administrative control, and positions on the TARUC board of trustees and board of governors,” Lim said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Chong Jun Ern, the chairman of TARUC Association of New Youth (TARANY), said stakeholders, namely the institution’s management, MCA, DAP, the Finance and Education ministries and others should put the interests of students first.

He said it is important to determine how MCA and DAP can reach a common ground for a win-win situation.

Chong said students had to bear the brunt of the political tussle as tuition fees had increased by more than 3%.

The management had previously told students there will only be a 3% fee hike.

“But when we went through the student’s bills privately, we found that it’s more than 3%. So far, the school has not given a reasonable explanation,” he said, adding that the management had failed to keep its promise.

Putrajaya’s decision to withhold RM30 million in funds for TARUC was one of the issues that angered Chinese voters, who showed their unhappiness by no voting for PH in the Tg Piai by-election last weekend.

PH lost the poll to Barisan Nasional by a landslide.

The institution named after the nation’s founding father, Tunku Abdul Rahman, was established by MCA in 1969.

Funding for TARUC is a sensitive issue for the Chinese community as the 50-year-old institution established by MCA has provided scholarships to underprivileged students who could not enter public universities due to the racial quota system.

The government had provided some RM1.35 billion in funding to the institution in the last 50 years.

Of this, RM1.012 billion were in the form of matching grants to aid its operating expenses and RM341 million for development expenditure.

Matching grants were given by Putrajaya every year to supplement operating expenses and to keep course fees low.

Allocations for TARUC has been on the downtrend since Budget 2015.

It received RM60 million in Budget 2015, RM51million in Budget 2016 and RM30 million in both Budget 2017 and Budget 2018.

However, in Budget 2019, the institution received merely RM5.5 million for development expenditure and no allocation was given to foot operational expenses, an 80% cut compared to Budget 2015.

Allocations were slashed further to only RM1 million under Budget 2019. – November 23, 2019.

Sign up or sign in here to comment.


  • Don't make UTAR a place only for a specific race. This is no different than the notorious quota system which is still practised by the government of today. We hated this narrow minded policy which has seen many qualified and bright students being rejected from entering the mainstream universities.

    Posted 4 years ago by Tanahair Ku · Reply

    • UTAR and TARUC never meant for specific race.... but a certain race will not join if the exam is so difficult, and no special consideration given... should the lecturers conduct special class for special race to let them know what questions will be in the exam?

      Posted 4 years ago by Philip Lim · Reply

  • Since 2010, many private universities have been set up in Malaysia. MI should report the truth and not be seen to be bias. By stating that chinese students who are unable to get into public Uni gave a lifeline in TarUC is false news as thrre are many other private U options. All tbese Uni also have options for underprivilged students but excellent results. Others can apply PTTPN if needed. TARUC has a lot if finfs contributed by the chinese community and there is ni reason that MCA has to uncrease fees. That being the case, why not hand over TARUC to the ex students professionals to manage. They can give a better offer

    Posted 4 years ago by S L · Reply