PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has questioned the government’s motive in entrusting RM30 million to a small alumni association of TAR College with only RM10,000 in assets and which is in deficit by RM6,900.
“Has anyone heard of university money being kept by an alumni association?” said the former premier in an online posting this evening.
Najib also questioned the association’s links with DAP leaders such as secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, who is finance minister.
Najib said the leaders of the Tarcian Alumni Association had been photographed with LIm last year when the association made a RM100,000 donation to the government’s Tabung Harapan to help pay off the national debt.
He said the same leaders were also photographed with Lim and other DAP leaders at a press conference at which Lim said a trust fund would be set up by TAA to handle the RM30 million government allocation for the benefit of MCA-owned Tunku Abdul Rahman University College.
Lim had previously announced that the government was withholding the annual grant to TAR college until the MCA relinquished control of the college.
Najib wrote that in 1971, Parliament had approved an annual government grant to the college.
He questioned the choice of TAA to handle the funds, and suggested it was because of the donation to Tabung Harapan, which was initiated by the finance ministry. “That’s why Guan Eng chose this small group of alumni to receive a grant of RM30 million a year. He didn’t want the one with 116,000 members. He chose the one with 7,000 members.”
He added: “Want to take care of students or keep cronies?”
Najib said TAA (set up in 2012) was the smallest and newest of the five TAR college associations. “Why did he not choose the oldest which has more than 100,000 members)?” he said, referring to the Federation of Tunku Abdul Rahman College Alumni Associations Malaysia, set up in 1989.
Najib said the TAR college issue was one of the causes for Chinese voters to reject Pakatan Harapan at the recent Tanjung Piai by-election.
The election defeat had caused Lim to panic and back-track on his earlier threat to withhold funds, Najib said. Before the 2018 general election Lim had made several promises to continue the allocation to the college, but later broke his promise, Najib said.
If Lim was sincere in wanting to help TAR college, he could have distributed the RM30 million a year directly to the 30,000 students currently enrolled, Najib said.
MCA president Wee Ka Siong also questioned Lim’s links with TAA, and said the federation was more qualified to handle the funds.
“So why did Lim Guan Eng allocate the funds to TAA and sideline the more practical choice? Is it because TAA is independent? Or is it because TAA is an organisation that is more pro-Lim Guan Eng?” he said in a Facebook posting.
Wee also questioned Lim’s call for MCA to relinquish its seats on the Board of Governors so that the college could operate free of political and government influence. However, he said the board also included four representatives of the education ministry and one from the finance ministry since 2013, a structure unheard-of among other educational institutions.
“Does he not trust officials of his own government? He could always appoint his own representatives. Why make a fuss now?” said Wee.