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RM500 million donation to Cambridge University – “no smoke without fire”: Mustapha should give full explanation before taking any further action


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  


(Parliament, Wednesday) : I asked the Higher Education Minister, Datuk Mustapha Mohamed during the budget debate on his ministry yesterday whether it is true that the government had agreed to give a RM500 million donation to Cambridge University and that Petronas and Khazanah Nasional had each forked out RM190 million.


I said that this would be a extraordinary sum of donation as apart from UiTM, no other local university would be allocated with a bigger sum in next year’s budget.


Mustapha denied that there had been a RM500 million donation to Cambridge University, but he did not completely dismiss the subject, using terms like “premature” and “final decision has yet to be made”.


Such terms could only mean that it is a case of “no smoke without fire”.


When I pointed out that using terms of like “premature” and “final decision has yet to be made” presupposes that the subject was a very active issue and asked why, as well as the reason for the government giving consideration to such an extraordinary endowment to Cambridge University, Mustapha said that this was part of the Ministry’s “smart partnership” with foreign universities to achieve excellence in tertiary education.


Time did not permit the matter to be pursued in Parliament yesterday.


Mustapha owes the nation a full and satisfactory explanation before any step is taken on the RM500 million donation to Cambridge University.


I had referred in my speech to the “globalization dilemma” faced by Malaysia, based on recent developments of the US technology giant, Intel Corp in this region.


Last month, Intel announced plans to boost its investment in Vietnam to USD$1 billion from USD$300 million a mere nine months earlier. Reason given by Intel? “A very vibrant population, an increasingly strengthened education system, a strong workforce and a very forward-looking government”. And it is said – where Intel goes, the IT industry often tends to follow.


Intel in Malaysia? The still unresolved RM100 million Great Microchip Robbery, which has threatened to drive away FDIs, without any seeming redeeming features from a reformed education system.


This, in a nutshell, sums up Malaysia’s globalization dilemma. I put this to the Higher Education Minister to illustrate Malaysia’s continuing slide in the stakes for international competitiveness.


Mustapha’s reply? The government is fully aware of the challenges of globalization and international competitiveness and that was why the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had chaired the meeting of the International Advisory Panel on Biotechnology in Putrajaya earlier in the day!



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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