RM30m for UTAR not taken up

By Teoh El Sen
Free Malaysia Today
SAT, 25 SEP 2010

PETALING JAYA: In August 2009, philanthropist Koon Yew Yin offered to donate RM30 million to Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman (Utar) to build hostels with recreational facilities at its Kampar campus in Perak.

But there has been no response from Utar to the generous gesture. Koon, 77, then withdrew his offer on Sept 12, this year.

However, on Sept 13, Utar’s board of trustees and council said it did not accept the RM30 million donation because of the “many conditions (imposed) such as setting up a foundation where he (Koon) will be chairman and be in full control over the spending of his money”.

Then on Sept 14, Utar issued a statement saying it did not turn down Koon’s offer but was still discussing it.

But Koon, who called for a press conference here yesterday, rubbished the claim he wanted to exercise full control over his money.

“Ever since I made my written RM30 million donation offer on Aug 18 last year, the Utar authorities have been using various means to delay accepting my offer. Now they have informed the public that the delay is because I want full control over the spending of my money,” said Koon.

“This is factually incorrect and misleading. Even if I had wanted control, common sense would dictate that I should have some control. But I did not say that,” he said.

“So, what is the true reason (for not accepting my offer)?” asked Koon, the founder of three leading development companies — IJM Corporation Bhd, Gamuda Bhd and Mudajaya Group Bhd.

He suspects that the truth has to do with “those real estate developers Utar is protecting”.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out ,” said Koon, a retired chartered engineer.

“The public must demand that MCA and the Utar authorities explain why the latter is protecting the real estate developers who are making unprecedented profits (building the campus). Who’s pocket did all the money go to?” asked Koon, who declined to name the developers.

A check by FMT showed that tin-mining tycoon-turned-developer Hew See Tong owned huge portion of properties in Kampar, which are near the campus. Hew is also a former MCA Kampar MP and adviser to UTAR (for planning and development).

Puzzling and disrespectful

What riles Koon is that the Kampar Utar does not have a single hostel within its campus, thus forcing students to find off-campus accommodation.
“It is unthinkable for any self-respecting university not to have adequate accommodations. All these years, why have they no plans to build hostels? Why are students forced to stay outside?” asked Koon’s architect, Lee Thean Hock, who had previously volunteered architectural work to build the hostels for free.

Koon’s trustee Lim Teck Ghee said: “It’s not every Sunday that someone makes such an offer (RM30 million). It’s quite remarkable. He (Koon) is not expecting any kind of reward. Under these circumstances, you would expect any organisation to grab it. But Utar is dragging its feet.”

“To observers, it is not only puzzling but disrespectful. Some may say it’s due to incompetence or even, stupidity,” said Lim, who is also Centre for Policy Initiative director.

Koon said that after waiting patiently for more than six months since his initial offer, he received an invitation to meet the Utar authorities on March 1, this year. The meeting was held at the Kampar campus.

Also in attendace were Koon’s trustees Teck Ghee and Tan Kit Pheng; architect Thean Hock; Lau Yin Pin, chairman of the Utar Trustee; Professor Chuah Hean Teik, Utar president; Fu Ah Kiow, Utar council member; and Dr Tan Kee Kong, Utar registrar.

“At that meeting, I agreed to allow Utar to have control over the donation and project as shown in my final written offer,” said Koon, who had amended the terms of his donation in response to suggestions by Chuah.

Chuah had proposed two clauses that gave Utar four members in a seven-member task force to monitor the spending of the RM30 million. Koon was also to be an adviser who could appoint three other members.

“I accepted these new conditions, which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was prepared to allow Utar control over the spending of my money.

“My role was to be as adviser and not to be the chairman and be in full control as alleged. There is no power there, only an advisory role.

“The most crucial point was that they wanted four members in the committee, and I agreed,” said Koon.

He said that after the meeting ended on an optimistic note, he was given the impression that the acceptance of his donation was a formality and that it would be quickly acted upon.

“I waited more than a year for Utar’s reply but in vain. Any donor in any part of the world would have lost his patience. As a result, I withdrew my offer.”

“Utar’s refusal to accept my RM30 million donation for building hostels within the campus is so ridiculous. As a result, thousands of students and parents will suffer and they will not forget that the MCA controls Utar,” said Koon, who also said he planned to find another worthy charity cause to channel the RM30 million.

‘Are you joking’

Koon also questioned why MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek had declared that he preferred not to get involved in this Utar cause.

Asked why he had imposed conditions at all when he could have let the university have a free hand to run the show, he said: “Do you know who’s the chairman of Utar and others who are from the MCA? Do you feel comfortable to give RM30 million to them… do whatever they want with my money…?”

Koon, who declared that he was no politician but simply someone who wanted to do charity, was appalled that Utar “continues to ignore the pressing issue of the housing needs of the students”.

On whether he would still consider extending his offer to Utar again, he said: “Are you joking?”

Currently, there are about 12,500 students in Kampar and the student population is increasing at about 2,000 every year. On average, each student is paying about RM2,000 on rental accomodation a year.

The Perak government gave 1,300 acres of land to develop the Kampar campus. Work started in 2003 and the first intake was in 2007. Up till now only about 200 acres have been used.

At the start of every semester, the students would individually have to secure their own accommodation. At present, the 9,500 Utar students enrolled in the main Perak campus are living in various rented houses in Kampar.

Koon had offered his donation after he received confirmation that Utar has no plans to build hostels. He attached one proviso: all the net profit from rents will go towards building more hostels. No part of the profits will accrue to him.

This year, Koon has allocated a RM1 million scholarship to poor Utar students.

The following is my (Koon’s) original donation offer made on Aug 18, 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:

• I solemnly declare that all the benefits derived from this hostel development are only for Utar in Kampar and not for my personal gain.

• 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.
• The main object is to provide suitable accommodation with recreational facilities for Utar students within the campus.

The rental rate must be sustainable and competitive. The return from the investment must be able to generate a profit of at least RM1 million 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:

• To help students, especially new ones, to solve their immediate accommodation problem.

• Hostel environment is more conducive for learning and the development of human relationships.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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 March 1, 2010 , I met Lau Yin Pin, chairman of Utar board of trustees and Professor 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 March 1, 2010

Koon’s mission is to help Utar students, especially the poor ones, get access to university residential accommodation and scholarships.

• 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.

• All construction contracts exceeding RM10,000 must be open to competitive tenders.

• The task force is to be composed of seven members, four to be nominated by Utar and three by myself or by my nominee.

• I will be appointed by Utar as adviser to the task force. The role of adviser must be spelt out and be 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.

• Utar will utilise 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.

• Koon 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.

• In honour of his donation, Koon 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.

  1. #1 by tunglang on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 9:13 am

    AND NO INTRUSIVE QUESTIONS ASKED on how to spend the ‘free’ money supposed for the well being of UTAR students.

    So how can Utar’s board of trustees and council expect philanthropist Koon Yew Yin to accept this questionable condition. Only a dunggu philanthropist would!


    These crony leeches have been having it good with rakyat’s money the way they gleefully leeched it thro’ Gomen projects with generous over-budgets so the gravy trains cannot be attached with accountability and transparency.

    AS ADVICE for any future philanthropist in Malaysia, Koon Yew Yin’s strict conditioning is the way to go.

    That’s a good tight slap on the faces of these greedy leeches. To Hell with these leeches we decent Malaysians don’t want on our good soil.

  2. #2 by tunglang on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 9:33 am

    This goes to show what MCA has for the wellfare of Chinese students as future prospective leaders of the community, industry and country —INDIFFERENCE.

    We are not blind to these antics since the early days of MCA’s existence. Their self interest is evident everywhere in MCA’s political connection to crony economic interests where ‘YOU SCRATCH MY BACK, I SCRATCH YOURS’ is the expected norm rather than the disgusting shame.

    See how luxurious the lifestyle of these leeches post-politics. That is one sure way to become a multi-millionaire in Malaysia.

  3. #3 by BoycottLocalPapers on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 9:37 am

    UTAR is a university that should have been built more than 30 years ago. But why did Mahathir refuse to give university status to Tunku Abdul Rahman College?

    Because Mahathir is damn racist and evil!!!

    Mahathir was afraid that University Malaya will lose its status to a university started by MCA just like UM lose to National University of Singapore.

    If non-bumiputera students are not allowed to enter local public universities due to “quota” a.k.a. racial discrimination imposed by Mahathir’s evil UMNO regime, then why can’t UMNO regime allow other communities to build their own universities?

    That shows how racist and evil Mahathir was and still is evil and racist more than ever before.

    I did not have the opportunity to get tertiary education because of Mahathir’s damn racist policy and for this I hate Mahathir very very much. But despite of my deep hatred to this evil Mahathir, I still hope he will still be alive when Anwar Ibrahim become the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.

  4. #4 by BoycottLocalPapers on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 9:43 am

    Racist Mahathir said that the Malays would lose their power to the Chinese should Pakatan Rakyat come to power.

    Now, we all know the real reason why racist Mahathir’s UMNO regime refuse to give university status to Tunku Abdul Rahman College or allow the Chinese community to build their own universities in the past.

    Evil Mahathir was afraid that University Malaya would lose its ranking to a university build by the Chinese community just like how he is afraid that the “Malays” (i.e. UMNO) would lose power to the Chinese should Pakatan Rakyat come to power.

  5. #5 by Loh on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 10:53 am

    ///• In honour of his donation, Koon 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.///

    On para 2 above, the words ‘have only to promise him’ should be changed to ‘are reminded’, or ‘are requested’ so as to alleviate UTAR concern that promising to help might go against MCA motto of each for his own good. One wonders whether the rejection of the 30 million ringgit donation was due to UTAR desire to protect vested interest, or to protect MCA principle of ‘forgetting the past and biting the hands that feed you’.

  6. #6 by Cinapek on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 11:21 am

    It boggles the mind that UTAR could refuse a RM30m donation to build hostels for its students. It is perfectly understandable that the person who donated the RM30m be allowed to monitor the disbursement of the RM30m to make sure it is spent for the purpose it was intended for i.e. hostels for students.

    Apart from the benefits described above for students to stay on campus, there is also the fostering of comradeship that extends far beyond their years spent in the university. My child has just enrolled in a top US university and it is a requirement of the university that all new students stay on campus so that the closeness of hostel accomodation helps to develop the friendship with fellow students and faculty in order to support the new student through the early period as they adjust in a new environment.

    In this university, many of the residential halls are named after the people (usually alumni) who had donated to the university for the construction of the halls. The strudents felt a sense of belonging to the university when they are staying at the hall. Help and counselling are close by and the easy access to the various dining halls reduces the stress and time wastage for the students allowing them to concentrate on their studies.

    The other important reason is security. If the students stay on campus, it is much easier for the university to provide the necessary security for the students, especially female students, in case they have to stay back late for lectures or other activities. The university even provides escort service for the students after midnight to send them back to the halls safely. In UTAR, I can imagine the risks the students have to take to get home in similar circumsrances if they live outside the campus.

    The benefits for campus housing far outweighs any “conditions” UTAR may have to concede to the donor (though I see none) who rightfully has the right to know where his money went to anyway.

  7. #7 by boh-liao on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 12:53 pm

    Dis whole incidence boils down to $$$$, lots of monopolized $$$$, fr now till eternity!

    Ask this relevant Q: Which MCA tycoons built n own d houses around UTAR Kampar n r collecting rentals fr UTAR students who hv no choice but 2 rent rooms/houses fr MCA tycoons?

    As long as no hostel is built 4 Utar Kampar students, they r at d mercy of d landlords, who r most likely MCA tycoons, laughing all d way 2 d bank
    Guranteed eternal income – exploiting Utar Kampar students

    These MCA tycoons certainly DO NOT welcome Mr Koon’s donation 2 build hostels in Utar Kampar
    Dis will certainly kill their eternal income
    To them, Koon is bad news n kacau saja, good way lah

    Dis is d saddest truth: MCA exploiting n making $$$$ fr Utar students, many of whom fr economically disadvantaged families

    A solution: Vote 4 PR in GE13 at both state n federal levels
    Let PR control Perak again n d state gomen take back some of d land given 2 Utar, set up a not-4-profit foundation 2 build hostels for Utar students in Kampar (Mr Koon may consider donating his money to dis foundation)

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 12:55 pm

    sorry, “good way lah” should be “go away lah”

  9. #9 by k1980 on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 1:24 pm

    If Koon has decided to name the Residential Complex as the Chua Soiled Leak Residential Complex instead of the Koon Yew Yin Residential Complex, mca would had immediately accepted the RM30million

  10. #10 by k1980 on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 2:21 pm

    All UTAR undergrads upon registration of their course must be presented with a DVD of Old Geezer CSL in action in Muar, so that they must never embark on the path taken by that conman

  11. #11 by dcasey on Sunday, 26 September 2010 - 5:22 pm

    A real shame to read this piece on how the MCA are milking the ordinary man of the same race that the MCA is purporting to champion. Cornering students and herding them up like cattles so that the MCA goons can make a big fat living is to say the very least parasitic, blood sucking buggers…actions which can be described as bordering blardy immoral. Goes to confirm why the existence of MCA as a branch of racist BN….so that it can suck its own race dry. Down with MCA and long live DAP.

  12. #12 by dagen on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 8:26 am

    Sensible decision for the Ir. koon to impose some conditions. And yeah he is absolutely spot on. 30m of his money in mca’s hands. Who could trust that?

  13. #13 by waterfrontcoolie on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 5:08 pm

    As things go, such behaviour on the part of MCA can only spell a more competitive General Election! Some times, one tends to think that such behaviour amounts to suicidal tendency. it is obvious that MCA leadership will not be able to give any rational explanation for their action. It is based on pure greed of the leadership; hence the election of a stained leader who is willing to “sell” at any price the pride of the Community. And if the Community still give any lingering support to such leadership then we, the members deserve the fate of being indifferent to the forthcoming election!

  14. #14 by Taxidriver on Monday, 27 September 2010 - 5:30 pm

    RM 30 million …. Of what use is it if we cannot bagi-bagi? Le siu siu, hei siu siu ngor siu siu. Tai ka ho.

    Koon Yew Tin is old bird ….. Knows what’s in their mind. They are the Mai Hua Kong Huay people. Semua sama sama Always on the prowl…looking for money to steal…Chinese people die never mind… I and my family don’t die …. oredi good.

  15. #15 by yellowkingdom on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 - 5:25 pm

    Subject: Historical fact which was EXTRACTED from Swettenham’s book

    Please circulate this historical record written by Frank Swettenham to all your contacts. Port Klang was once named Port Swettenham. Go to Google,
    Wikipedia, to get this fact confirmed.


    Please don’t fail to read the extract from page 233 of the book mentioned in the last part of this message.

    The Chinese are the ones who developed the Malay States to what it is today ! This is documented fact !

    BRITISH MALAYA – An Account of the
    Origin and Progress of British Influence in
    Malaya ” – by Sir Frank Swettenham,
    K.C.M.G. (1850-1946).

    Late Governor of the Straits Colony &
    High Commissioner for the Federated
    Malay States . LONDON : John Lane
    Page 231
    “…….I have said that the protected Malay States depended mainly on the
    tin mines for their revenue, and it was first care of the Government to foster
    the industry by every legitimate means. As early as 1882 a French company
    began to mine tin in the Kinta district of Perak, and has extended its operations
    to the other States. Since then other Europeans have formed companies for the
    same purpose; but it was the Chinese who began the work, who have
    continued it ever since, and whose efforts have succeeded in producing
    more than half of the world’s tin supply.
    Page 232
    Their energy and enterprise have made the Malay States what they are
    today, and it would be impossible to overstate the obligation which
    the Malay Government and the people are under to these hard-working,
    capable and law-abiding. They were already the miners and the
    traders, and more instances the planters and the fishermen, before the
    white man had found his way to the Peninsula . In all the early days it was
    Chinese energy and industry which supplied the fund to begin the
    construction of roads and public works, and to pay all the other costs of
    administration. Then they will and still they are, the pioneers of mining.. They
    have driven their way into remote jungles, cleared the forests, run all the risks,
    and often made great gains. They have also paid penalty imposed by an often
    deadly climate. But the Chinese were not often miners, they were charcoal-
    burners in the days when they had to do their own smelting; they were
    wood-cutters, carpenters, and
    brickmakers; as contractors they constructed nearly all government buildings,
    most of the roads and bridges, railways and waterworks. They brought all
    the capital into the country when Europeans feared to take the risks;
    they were the traders and shopkeepers, and it was their steamers which
    first opened regular communications between the ports of the colony and
    the ports of Malay States. They introduced tens of thousands of their
    countrymen when the one great need was labour to develop the hidden riches of
    an almost unknown and jungle-covered country, and it is their work, the
    taxation of the luxuries of they consume and of the pleasures they enjoy, which
    has provided something like nine-tenths of the revenue. When it is possible to
    look back upon a successful experiment, it is always of interest to ascertain the
    determining factors, and how far each affected the result.
    Page 233
    The reader should understand at once what is due to Chinese labour and
    enterprise in the evolution of the Federated Malay States . The part played
    by the Malay has already been told: it was mainly negative; how far
    the Government officials, the European planters and the Indian Immigrants
    contributed to the general development of the Country and the position it now
    occupies will be described in the subsequent chapter………….”

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