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Pakatan’s free education move stymied by BN

 | May 2, 2012

Pakatan cannot start implementating its free education plan in opposition-held states, as it is restricted by contracts signed during BN's tenure.

PETALING JAYA: PKR today claimed that lopsided agreements signed by Barisan Nasional with contractors is hindering PKR from providing free or subsidised education in opposition-held states.

Party strategic director, Rafizi Ramli, cited Kolej University Islam Selangor (KUIS) where he claimed that as a result of the rent concession signed with contractors, the institute had to spend more than half of its expenditure on rent alone.

Students, too, bore the burnt of this as their fees remained high, claimed Rafizi.

“The contractor was awarded a 33-year lease at an annual rate of RM15.4 million when the cost (to build the hostel and student centre) is only RM97 million. This means the contractors will get RM508 million (over the years)… a 524% profit here,” Rafizi told the press.

“The reasonable rent rate is half of the RM6 million which they are paying now. KUIS is tied up paying high rent to the contractors. Therefore it cannot lower its fees let alone provide free education.”

The Islamic university falls under the purview of Majlis Agama Islam Selangor (MAIS). According to documents procured from MAIS, rent payment is the second highest expenditure of the institute.

In 2010, KUIS paid RM15,406, 390 for rent. Expenses for its academic staff top the list of expenditure.

Rafizi said that the contractor for the hostel was Redha Resources Sdn Bhd (RRSB) owned by current Permatang assemblyman, Sulaiman Abdul Razak, who is also an Umno member.

Rafizi claimed that Sulaiman was (former Selangor menteri besar) Khir Toyo’s crony.

“Khir was a witness for RRSB when they signed the loan agreements (worth RM125.8 million) with banks on Aug 3, 2007, to fund the project,” he said.

Rafizi added that RRSB was merely the middle party in the deal as another company, Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, was the one that implemented the project.

“Before Umno members point their finger at PKR, I challenge the Umno leadership to retract Sulaiman’s contract so that the hostel rent will be fair to KUIS students,” he said.

The issue of funding higher education has been highlighted recently following a protest by 300 students who demanded that the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan scheme be scrapped.

Following this, Rafizi said that PKR will set up a special fund to aid students with their daily expenses should the party take over Putrajaya.

He added this special fund was included in the party’s five-point framework to implement a free education policy and to replace the current PTPTN scheme.


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