Guan Eng hints he will step down if funds not given to TAR UC

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says there is ‘no more excuse or reason’ for MCA not to give up political control of the educational institution.

PETALING JAYA: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today hinted that he would resign if the RM30 million pledged to the Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) is not given once MCA relinquishes control of the institution.

Lim and MCA had been at loggerheads over the allocation, with Lim insisting a few days ago that public funding cannot be given to institutions that are controlled by political parties.

Last month, MCA president Wee Ka Siong criticised Lim for being unsympathetic towards the Chinese community by slashing a government grant to the institution.

The Barisan Nasional raised the issue over the funds while campaigning for the Tanjung Piai by-election.

“To avoid unnecessary political polemics over whether this minimum annual pledge of RM30 million to TAR UC is genuine or not, let me state this in clear and unequivocal terms.

“I will be willing to pay the highest political price as finance minister if this minimum RM30 million pledge to TAR UC, commencing from 2019, made in my capacity as finance minister is not delivered, when MCA surrenders political control over TAR UC,” Lim said in a statement.

The DAP secretary-general said with his pledge, there was therefore “no more excuse nor reason” for MCA not to give up political control of the institution.

Earlier, Lim said that he had repeatedly stated that the Pakatan Harapan administration has set aside and is willing to give TAR UC at least RM30 million annually from 2019 onwards.

He also said the condition was endorsed by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Lim went on to hit out at Wee, accusing him of trying to distract from the issue by stating that this minimum RM30 million pledge annually to TAR UC is a “sandiwara” as it was not included in the 2019 or 2020 Budget.

Wee, he said, cited the RM5.5 million in the 2019 Budget and RM1 million in the 2020 Budget for TAR UC to back up his claim.

“Is Wee so ignorant as a former Cabinet minister that he does not know how the government Budget works?

“Then why are there major development expenditure items in the Budget with an allocation of only RM10? I do not need to explain further to spare him embarrassment over his incompetence.”