Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Koon's RM30mil offer: MCA protecting rental income of cronies?

Koon's RM30mil offer: MCA protecting rental income of cronies?
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Report by Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

The ongoing saga about the MCA and Utar shocking decision to reject a RM30 million donation to build hostels that provide students with affordable accommodation took a fresh twist with revelations of a real estate scam by investors alleged to have links to MCA leaders including Kampar MP Lee Chee Leong and his predecessor Hew See Tong.

It is an open secret that almost all the terrace houses, the semi-Ds, bungalows and shop-houses around the Utar campus were developed by towkays with connections to MCA strongmen. Apparently, MCA wants to brand Kampar as an MCA township,former mentri besar Nizar Jamaluddin told Malaysia Chronicle.


Malaysia Chronicle was not able to contact either Lee or Hew for their comments. But a check with people familiar with the area revealed that rentals are going for between RM2,000 and RM4,000 per month, which are exorbitant given that Kampar is a small town and the consumers are students, and whose parents are mostly from the middle to lower income groups.

Amid such roaring business, it is unsurprisingly that MCA – which controls Utar – has hung up a no-entry sign to investors such as philanthropist Koon Yew Yin. In August 2009, Koon had offered a RM30 million donation to build proper hostels with recreational facilities.

In December that same year, Utar rejected his offer. Shocked at the way the university had failed to take into consideration the advantages of such an offer to the students and their parents, Koon gave it another go in March 2010.

Not only was it rejected again, Ipoh MCA politician Thong Fah Chong earlier this month alleged that Koon wanted a seat on the Utar council for his philantrophy. On September 13, Utar followed up with a press statement that Koon had imposed “many conditions such as the setting-up of a foundation where he will be the Chairman and be in full control†.

Koon has denied the allegations from both Thong and Utar. He has also provided copies of letters detailing his proposal dated November 18, 2009 and March 1, 2010 for public scrutiny.

Utar's refusal to accept my RM30 million donation for building hostels within the University campus is ridiculous. As a result, thousands of students and parents will suffer and they will not forget that the MCA controls Utar, Koon told a press conference last week.

The Perak Government gave 1,300 acres of land to develop Utar in Kampar and up till now only about 200 acres have been used. The public must ask for Utar development plan and ask to know when they will begin their hostel construction.


There is also speculation that Utar staff had suggested that instead of spending the RM30 million on building new hostels, the money should go towards paying student's rentals over the next 10 to 15 years. This would protect the rental income of the owners of the real estate surrounding Utar that the students currently have no choice but to rent.

This is a sheer betrayal by the MCA of the students and their parents who are already stretching their ringgit to the maximum to get their children the best education they can afford. The MCA has turned down a very generous offer to build conducive and cheap accommodation. And for no apparent reason other than to protect their cronies it appears,said Nizar.

We urge the BN government and the Education ministry to do a though investigation and come down hard on wrongdoers. For the sake of selfish, vested interests MCA is not only betraying the Chinese community, it is betraying our national agenda to give the best educational opportunities and facilities that we can to our young.

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