MCA deputy president Mah Hang Soon says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng's ultimatum to two MCA-owned private higher learning institutions is a form of political vengeance against the party.
Mah said students at the two institutions will be the victims of Lim's reported demand for Tunku Abdul Rahman University College (TAR UC) and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (UTAR) to cut ties with MCA as a condition to qualify for government aids in 2020.
"Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng is making an open threat and compromising the rights of Chinese students at the same time when he demanded, in order for TAR UC and Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman UTAR to get government aids in 2020, they must not be owned by MCA.
"His threatening statement in Parliament that MCA must cut ties with the two institutions before the government could consider any allocation is none other than political vengeance; and this time around, the victims will be the very students of UTAR and TAR UC themselves," Mah said in a statement.
He further claimed that Lim is turning a blind eye towards the plight of students, many of whom came from families with weaker financial standings and have benefited from the affordable fees offered by the two institutions.
Mah, who is also MCA Perak deputy chairperson, pointed out that the two institutions have produced tens of thousands of talented graduates since their inception, particularly after TAR UC gained university college status in 2013.
'Will dampen study dreams of poorer students'
"It is disappointing to see that as a minister of Chinese heritage, Lim not only does not offer to help, but he has taken matters into his own hands to victimise UTAR and TAR UC, merely due to their relationship with MCA.
"His statement is uncalled-for as this will deprive the poorer students of affordable fees and dampen their study dreams," said Mah, stressing that the two institutions could never be equalised with other private universities or colleges.
Lim had made the statement in his winding-up speech of the Supply Bill 2019 in Parliament on Wednesday, in response to MCA president Wee Ka Siong, who queried why the government had slashed funds for the two institutions.
While the government had provided an RM5.5 million development fund for UTAR and TAR UC, Wee pointed out it had not provided any matching grants.
Lim, in his response, said further allocations could be considered after a separation of the two institutions from MCA.