PKR claims that the Malaysian University of Science and Technology is in financial doldrums despite receiving government aid.
PKR’s communications director Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad made the allegation at a press conference at the party headquarters here today.
Also present was the party’s national strategy and policy bureau secretary S Gobi Krishnan.
Nik Nazmi claimed that the Malaysian University of Science and Technology (MUST) had only managed to enrol about 200 students last year, far below the targeted 5,000.
‘How do you sustain a university like this?” asked the Seri Setia state assemblyman.
In February, an online news portal reported that MUST had less than RM10 million in its coffers and might not be able to sustain itself for another year.
The university, set up in 2000, was owned by MUST Ehsan Foundation headed by former Cabinet minister Effendi Norwawi.
Initially, the university was working in collaboration with the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) but their agreement lapsed in 2005.
“From 2002-2006, a sizeable amount of the grant was spent on scholarships and stipend for the pioneer batch of students. Many needed more than three semesters to graduate as the MIT curriculum was very demanding,” MUST chief executive Leong Choon Heng had reportedly said.
Nik Nazmi said that MUST was having much financial difficulty that it had delayed making payments to support its students’ accommodation.
“It’s reported that MUST delayed payments to its enrollment agents and for students’ lodging, resulting in students being moved around from one place to another.
“On top of that, PTPTN loan money is still being deducted for accommodation despite the university promising that it will provide free lodging for students,” he claimed.
Lectures paid late
“I was also informed that teaching staff are only offered three months contract which is affecting their morale,” he said.
Nik Nazmi urged the Higher Education Ministry and MUST to explain the matter to the public as it involved taxpayers’ money.
“Ironically, the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University are doing well with its collaboration with MIT while MUST is floundering,” he said.
AIMST University scandal
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On another matter, Gobi Krishnan dismissed MIC’s explanation on his series of expose on the MIC-run AIMST University, saying it was just a delaying tactic.
“It’s a tactic to delay things. Hope they don’t come back in three years to reply to me,” he said, vowing to reveal more alleged financial mismanagement pertaining to AIMST.
Last Tuesday, he alleged that audit reports on AIMST had found irregularities, including alleged false claims and “preferential treatment” accorded to a Jaya Cafe Holdings Sdn Bhd, which operated the eatery.
The cafe was owned by MIC Youth treasurer J Dhinagaran. MIC Youth chief T Mohan was one of the directors of Jaya Cafe.
MIC central working committee member S Vell Paari told FMT last week that AIMST and Dhinagaran would respond to the allegation soon.