Many people have asked me about the progress of my RM50 million donation to the Penang government for building student hostels.
Most of my scholarship recipients are studying at Utar, Kampar. About seven years ago, I offered RM30 million to Utar, which is controlled by MCA, to build student hostels with no profit incentive and no conditions.
Utar does not provide hostel accommodations for students. They are more interested in building lecture halls to make more money. Moreover, the MCA leaders who owned almost all the land outside the university campus did not want me to disturb their lucrative property development business.
What I said or complained about was not published in the newspapers because MCA and Barisan Nasional controlled all of them. Fortunately, the power of the internet carried this episode so widely that in GE13, MCA lost almost all of its seats.
My donation to Penang
About five years ago, I offered the Penang RM50 million to build student hostels without any profit incentive. Immediately, the Penang exco met with me and accepted my donation offer.
The government offered me a piece of land about 60,000 sq ft, diagonally opposite USM, and appointed Lim Hock Seng and Gobind Singh Deo to help me. My architect took about six months to submit the drawing designs which were approved without unnecessary delay.
MCA leader’s caveat on land
I immediately called for an open competitive tender and selected the construction contractor. As my piling contractor was about to start piling, MCA leader Tan Swee Heng’s lawyer put in a caveat on the land. He claimed the land was allocated to him during Koh Tsu Koon’s tenure as Penang chief minister.
The legal battle has been going on for more than two years. Everyone can see that the MCA leaders in the Utar and Penang cases are only interested in making money and are not interested in helping students.
That is why MCA lost almost all its seats in the last two general elections. They must be blind and dumb because they cannot see the corruption in the 1MDB case.
My two new proposals
1. As you can see from the list below, there are more than 30 universities and colleges in Penang. Only USM has student hostels.
Since most universities and colleges are located on the eastern side of Penang, I would like the Penang government to allocate a suitable piece of land there so I can use my RM50 million to build student hostels.
2. To avoid further delay, I propose that the Penang government allocate a piece of land specifically for student hostels and invite an open tender for the land so that I can submit my bid. If I can buy the land, there should no longer be any delay.
Universities and colleges in Penang
- Universiti Sains Malaysia
- Universiti Teknologi Mara
- Wawasan Open University
- Open University Malaysia
- Penang Medical College
- Olympia College Penang
- KDU College Penang
- PTPL Penang
- Kemayan ATC
- SEGi College
- Sentral Technology College
- Allianze College of Medical Sciences
- Equator Academy of Arts and Design
- Han Chiang College
- Disted-Stamford College
- Tunku Abdul Rahman College
- Inti International College Penang
- Info Genius College
- Institut First Robotics Industrial Science
- Rima College
- Reliance College
- Penang Skills Development Centre
- Island College of Technology
- Kolej Antarabangsa Excelpolitan
- Kolej Excel
- Adventist College of Nursing
- Silicon Institute of Technology
- Surya College
- The One Academy Penang
- Lam Wah Ee Nursing School
- Cosmopoint International College of Technology
- Excelpolitan International College
Koon Yew Yin is a retired chartered civil engineer and one of the founders of IJM Corporation Bhd and Gamuda Bhd.
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.