This is the story of a sector of the population that does not want to abide by the Constitutional provision of Bahasa Malaysia being the National Language of the country, having a vast amount of wealth, set up 61 fully privately funded Chinese schools at secondary level, not recognized by the Government but managed to get recognition by several universities abroad, have a lot more money to promote themselves but cannot get everything they want, and ask the Government for more and more.
And in so doing, they want the facilities available for the economically and educationally disadvantaged others, like scholarships and places in local public universities, be given to them as well. Yet they already also have privately owned and privately run universities and university colleges.
The British colonial masters had allowed Chinese schools to exist, the independent Malayan and Malaysian Government had adopted Bahasa Malaysia as the National Language but had swept the problem of vernacular schools under the carpet and now the existence of three systems of education existing in the country viz National Schools, Chinese schools and Tamil schools, is not helping to promote the badly needed national unity.
The promoters of Chinese schools devised their own system of pre-university qualification and the vast wealth of the Chinese in this country afforded them the organisation and the funds to promote it overseas, and secured recognition from several universities abroad and now they have access to university education as much as, if not more than, the disadvantaged others. Scholarships and funding from the rich Chinese are available to Chinese sudents, as shown in the following articles.
The Chinese, as a community, have a lot of money and they control the economy. Their system of mutual help through the traditional and exclusive clan associations and business guilds means that bright Chinese pupils can always get help from fellow Chinese. Such is not the case of the disadvantaged others who have to depend on government scholarships and places in local universities.
Yet 50 of those with UEC got scholarships totalling RM2.25 million from 1Malaysia Dev Bhd, as the first article below shows. Yet they have so much money that the Chinese owned and operated Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) is not even keen on the RM30 million offered by a Chinese millionaire philanthrophist – see the subsequent articles. They must have had enough money donated by the very many wealthy Chinese, one of whom is said to be be sending out money to build schools in China.
If they get recognized by the Government, it may mean they get everything they want. It is not right in the context of the Constitutional provision on Bahasa Malaysia. It means recognition of the system that uses Mandarin, the official language of China, as the medium of instruction. It is not fair to those others who have been disadvantaged due to the British colonial policy that provided facilities in the towns where most Chinese live, and did not look after the economic and educational well being of the majority Malays who mostly lived in the rural areas, and the British wanted them to continue being farmers and fishermen.
Let’s discuss these.
UEC still in a state of perplexity
Opinion 2010-09-15 16:35
By LIM MUN FAH
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
The Chinese independent schools and the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) are currently in a vague dilemma.
Fifty Chinese independent school students, who excelled in the UEC were recently awarded scholarships worth a total of RM2.25 million by the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Also, Chinese independent school students are acceptable into teachers training colleges with the conditions requiring them to have the UEC and three distinctions and a pass for Bahasa Malaysia in the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM).
The two situations cannot be assumed to be a de facto acceptance and recognition for the UEC.
No doubt, the government has made a few concessions in education liberalisation over the past few years, but the progress is certainly at a snail speed..
We cannot be satisfied with such a little progress and should never forget the pursuit for a great liberalisation even after we have tasted some sweetness.
We must not forget that fighting for government recognition of the UEC is still an unrealised dream for the Chinese community.
It is still a long, long and tough path.
However, even though the UEC has not gained recognition from the government, it has been recognised by many foreign universities.
Many of the top 200 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2010 have recognised the UEC and allowed direct admission for Chinese independent students based on their UEC results. This indicates the high standard of the UEC academic status.
Today, many Chinese independent students have gone abroad to Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and other places to study, and have excelled in the more free and fair environment.
They have been swimming against the stream, but today, many Chinese independent students are standing proud as quality graduates from some of the top universities in the world. They are looking forward to serve in their motherland, but the question is whether or not they will be given the fair opportunities to do so.
The quality standard of the UEC is certainly an indisputable fact, and the government has no valid reason to deny recognition for it. So, the efforts to get the UEC recognised should not be slackened.
Sin Chew Daily
MCA howler over RM30 million donation
Opinion 2010-09-09 20:03
Press Statement by
Philanthropist Koon Yew Yin
Thursday 9 September 2010
I want to know why the MCA rejected my RM30 million student-aid offer
I called a press conference to refute the statement made by Ipoh MCA politician Thong Fah Chong as published a few days ago. He said that I wanted a seat on the Utar (Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman) council and because of that the university cannot accept my RM30 million donation to build hostels within its campus in Kampar, Perak.
I have never wanted a seat on the Utar council and what Thong said is not true.
The Ipoh Echo and the Centre for Policy Initiatives carry an advertisement of my offer of scholarships to help poor students whose family income is less than RM2,000 per month. In the last three and half years, I have given scholarships to about 70 really poor students and most of them are studying in Utar Kampar.
Scholarship recipients do not need to pay me back the money I give to them nor do they need to work for me. They only have to promise me that when they are financially solvent, they will help other poor students. In this way, I believe many who have benefitted from my charity will continue to do charity after I die.
Before the end of the year, my first scholarship holder will be graduating as an accountant. This student had 10A1 for his SPM but failed to get a scholarship from anywhere. Moreover, his father died soon after he completed his SPM. He is one of many thousands of bright but poor students who do not have the resources to further their education.
There are currently 12,500 students in Utar and 2,100 students in TAR College. The student population is increasing by 2,000 a year and is expected to hit well above the 20,000 mark soon.
As reported, the Perak state government has allocated 520ha of land and Utar has utilized less than 100ha for current development.
After receiving confirmation that Utar has no plan to build hostels, on 19 August last year, I offered a RM30 million donation to Utar to build hostels with all the net profit to go towards building more hostels. I have openly declared that my intention is to help the students and I do not want any part of the profit for myself.
The following is my original donation offer written on 18 August 2009:
Proposed hostel development within Utar campus, Kampar
I wish to donate RM30 million to Utar for a hostel development within the Utar campus on the following conditions:
(1) I solemnly declare that all the benefits derived from this hostel development is only for Utar in Kampar and not for my personal gain.
(2) A foundation to be set up under the control of a board of directors with me as chairman and four directors to be appointed by Utar council with my approval.
(3) The main object is to provide suitable accommodation with recreational facilities for Utar students within the campus.
(1) The rental rate must be sustainable and competitive. The return from the investment must be able to generate a profit of at least one million ringgit a year for scholarships to help poor students and additional funds for maintenance and new development.
Advantages of hostel and recreational facilities within the campus:
(1) To help students, especially new ones, to solve their immediate accommodation problem.
(2) Hostel environment is more conducive for learning and the development of human relationships.
(3) Currently the 9,500 Utar students are scattered all over Kampar and the university has practically no control over them after lectures. They are free to drink and gamble as much as they like. Moreover, they have the constant worry of their landlords kicking them out or they have to find new accommodation before the start of the next semester. Can you imagine living with this constant fear while you are burdened with lectures, examinations and financial difficulties? This situation cannot continue if the Utar council has a good alternative.
(4) University students are always burdened with a lot of difficulties and some students will develop irreversible psychological problem. Studies have shown that living in hostel have many advantages including the reduction of dropouts.
(5) Living in university hostel is the most pleasurable period of a student’s life. The hostel facilities will generate happiness and comradeship among fellow students. As a result, students are better prepared to face the competitive world after their graduation.
After having waited more than six months for Utar’s acceptance of my donation, on 1 March 2010 , I met Lau Yin Pin, chairman of Utar board of trustees and Prof Chuah Hean Teik, president/CEO of Utar council, in Kampar and I gave them in writing my final donation offer as follows:
Final donation offer letter to Utar made on 1 March 2010
Koon Yew Yin’s objectives and conditions for his RM30 million donation:
KYY’s mission is to help Utar students, especially the poor students in their access to university residential accommodation and scholarships.
(1) All the RM30 million donation and the profit from the rental and other income must be used for building hostels and other associated residential buildings for the use of students within the campus of Utar, Kampar.
(2) All construction contracts exceeding RM10,000 must be open to competitive tenders.
(3) The task force is to be composed of 7 members, 4 members to be nominated by Utar and 3 members to be nominated by myself or by my nominee.
(4) I will be appointed by Utar as adviser to the task force. The role of adviser must be spelt out and agreeable to me. This position will be a lifelong one. Any change to be made to the position has to be sanctioned by me or by the executors of my estate.
(5) Utar will utilize a team of people to manage the hostel on a commercial basis. The rental rate must be competitive and profitable but at the same time it should not burden the students.
(6) Koon Yew Yin and his estate reserve the right to authorise Utar to use a portion of the net income to create a Koon Yew Yin Charity Foundation to help poor students by offering scholarships or loans to Utar and other needy students.
(7) In honour of his donation, Koon Yew Yin wishes to have a tablet prominently displayed with these words inscribed:
“Recipients of Koon Yew Yin’s scholarships and residents of Koon Yew Yin’s hostels have only to promise him that when they graduate and are financially solvent they will help other poor people.”
The whole residential village is to be named Koon Yew Yin Residential Complex. Each hostel block should be named after the fundamental rights of citizens such as Liberty, Justice, Equality, Fraternity, Freedom, Integrity, etc.
From the start of the negotiation, Utar has insisted on having full control of the spending of my own money. This seems so ridiculous, yet I was willing to accept, and only adding the proviso of clause (3) above.
For the past one year, it is a puzzle why the board of trustees and council of Utar have had such difficulty in accepting my donation offer. Any reasonable donor, anywhere in the world, would have lost patience and given up much earlier.
It is with deep regret and disappointment that I now inform you that I wrote to all the members of Utar board of trustees and council yesterday to withdraw my donation offer.
As a result of Utar’s rejection of my donation, thousands of students will miss the advantages of living in hostels within the campus and thousands of parents will suffer in paying higher cost for accommodation for their children.
It is now up to the public, Utar students and parents to push for the building of the residential colleges using the university’s own resources. The public has the right to ask the MCA president the true reason why UTAR cannot accept my donation offer.
[Koon Yew Yin,77, is a retired chartered civil engineer and was a founder of IJM Corporation, Gamuda and Mudajaya Group — all leading public-listed construction companies.]
( The opinions expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of MySinchew )
Utar issues clarification on RM30 million offer
Opinion 2010-09-14 16:30
The Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) Board of Trustees and Utar Council have issued a joint press statement to clarify their position in the controversy over philanthropist Koon Yew Yin’s offer of a RM30 million donation to build a hostel on the university’s campus in Kampar, Perak.
Koon had on Thursday 9 September 2010 issued a media statement to refute Ipoh MCA leader Thong Fah Chong’s claim that he had wanted a seat on the Utar council and because of that the university did not accept his RM30 million donation. Koon has said that he had never wanted a seat on the Utar council and what Thong said is not true.
Koon’s media statement was published in full on this news portal. To be fair to the Utar authorities, mysinchew.com is also publishing their statement in full.
Press Statement by
the Board of Trustees of the Utar Education Foundation and Utar Council
on the donation offered by Koon Yew Yin
for hostel development in the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) Perak Campus
Petaling Jaya, Monday 13 September 2010
The Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) is a tertiary education institution wholly-owned by the Utar Education Foundation with a tax-exemption status whereby all donations from the public, be it big or small, are welcome.
Since its inception, the Utar Education Foundation has received donations and contributions from individuals and corporations with no conditions attached.
Many people are supporting education selflessly for a good cause. For instance, all members of the Board of Trustees of the Utar Education Foundation and Utar Council serve on a voluntary basis to contribute to the planning and development of Utar and they are not paid any remuneration or allowance.
We wish to assure the public that all donations to the Utar Education Foundation are handled and managed with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.
The Board of Trustees and Utar Council thank the public, corporations and privateindividuals for their interest in UTAR. We hope they will continue to support us.
Utar did receive a proposal from Mr Koon Yew Yin who wished to donate RM30 million to Utar for the purpose of building hostels on the Utar campus in Perak. In Mr Koon’s letter on the proposed donation, he stated many conditions such as the setting-up of a foundation where he will be the Chairman and be in full control.
For specific kinds of donations such as Mr Koon’s proposed donation where there are many conditions, the Board of Trustees and Utar Council would require time to study the details and legal implications in order to decide in the best interest of the university.
There was a series of face-to-face discussions and correspondence via email between representatives of the Board of Trustees and Utar Council and Mr Koon to discuss the terms and conditions of his proposed donation.
A lawyer was then appointed to study all the conditions and the legal implications.
The Board of Trustees and Utar Council in their letter dated 15 December 2009 to Mr Koon informed him that they “will accept your donation of RM30 million for the stated purpose in accordance with the established practice and tradition of Utar.”
From the above chronology of events, it is clear that discussions are ongoing between the Board of Trustees and Utar Council and Mr Koon, and to say that the university has not responded to Mr Koon’s proposed donation is unreasonable.
In spite of the effort by the Board of Trustees and Utar Council to continue discussing with Mr Koon, he continues to issue press statements, articles and e-mails in the Internet and social networking media with many allegations and insinuations, not pursuing to a conclusion.
If Mr Koon wishes to donate his money without conditions to Utar, the Board of Trustees and Utar Council are happy to accept. However, the Board of Trustees and Utar Council will have no objection for him to donate to other good causes.
The Board of Trustees of the Utar Education Foundation
and Utar Council
See Koon’s statement at http://www.mysinchew.com/node/44744