Swing in Chinese support because of TAR UC funding issue, says Umno man

Nazri Aziz.

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno man Nazri Aziz says Chinese voters in Tanjung Piai supported Barisan Nasional (BN) in last weekend’s by-election as Pakatan Harapan (PH) failed to provide funding for MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC).

He predicted that the trend of Chinese voters shifting back to BN would continue into the 15th general election if PH did not fulfil its promises.

“TAR UC – you gave RM5 million (in 2019) and now you reduce it to RM1 million,” he said in a press conference at the Parliament lobby. “Is that fair?

“During BN’s time, we gave RM35 million for the education of Chinese boys and girls.”

MCA president Wee Ka Siong, too, had said the decision not to set aside funds for TAR UC was unfair to its 28,000 students, many of whom come from poor families.

“Under the previous government, for 50 years, we received RM1.35 billion in matching grants. But now, not a single sen is given to TAR UC.”

Nazri also said the request for MCA to relinquish control over the institution showed that PH was “politicising education”.

“And that’s the main reason why the Chinese don’t support them,” he said.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng previously told the board of trustees of Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman and TAR UC to resign if they wanted government funding.

The Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat fell vacant in September following the death of its incumbent, PPBM’s Dr Md Farid Md Rafik.

MCA’s Wee Jeck Seng won the by-election on Saturday by over 15,000 votes in a six-cornered contest against PH’s Karmaine Sardini, Wendy Subramaniam (Gerakan), Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz (Berjasa) and independents Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar and Ang Chuan Lock.

Tanjung Piai is a mixed seat with 53,528 registered voters comprising 57% Malays, 41.66% Chinese and 1% Indians.