RM40M Grant for TAR UC Transferred to Trust Fund

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The Finance Ministry has transferred the RM40 million grant it pledged to the education trust fund managed by TARCian Alumni Association (TAA), to be used for the benefit of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) and its students.

This was announced at a press conference called by TAA and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

“After receiving the government grant intended for TAR UC, TAA Education Trust Fund will work with the relevant authorities to disburse the grant to benefit TAR UC and its students.

Mukhriz Hazim/Malaysiakini

“The board of trustees of the TAA Education Trust Fund, being the administrator for this new trust fund, will work closely with the management team of TAR UC to ensure the government grant is properly managed and distributed for the well-being of TAR UC and its students,” TAA president Yap Kuak Fong said at the press conference.

The Finance Ministry also handed over the terms of reference (TOR) as well as a receipt on the fund transfer for the grant to the TAA at the press conference.

Lim said the TOR set by the Pakatan Harapan government for the RM40 million grant is similar to that set by the previous government, that TAR UC should not be linked or tied to any political party.

He also said this RM40 million grant proves that the Harapan government has no intention to close down or interfere politically with TAR UC.

Yap said the government felt it was more appropriate to channel the grant through the TAA due to violations by the TAR UC Education Foundation’s board of trustees and their non-compliance with the constitution and requirements of various regulating bodies.

“In order to live up to the expectations of corporate governance, accountability and transparency, TAA education trust fund will strive to ensure proper representation by apolitical individuals, professionals and prominent leaders, with good representation from the Chinese community,” he said.

In addition to that, Yap said the board of trustees would have a maximum of nine members, led by former TAR UC president Tan Chik Heok, who is also TAA’s honorary advisor.

“With his 30 over years of experience and so on, nobody can say this board of trustees is made up of inexperienced people.

“All these appointments (to the board) are still subject to the ministry’s approval,” Yap added.

Previously, the TAA had claimed that the composition of the TAR UC eight-member board of trustees violates rules set forth by the Companies Commission of Malaysia, Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry as all eight members were either current or former senior leaders of MCA.

It claimed that this had been the case since 2013, when TAR College was upgraded to university college status.

MCA and Lim have been embroiled in a feud over government funding for TAR UC.

Mukhriz Hazim/Malaysiakini

Lim had made it a precondition that MCA relinquishes control over TAR UC before the government resumes funding TAR UC directly.

As a temporary solution, he had appointed TAA to set up a trust fund that would channel up to RM40 million, granted annually by the government, to TAR UC and its students.

In turn, MCA had accused the government of reneging on a legal obligation to fund TAR UC and of playing politics with education. – Malaysiakini