Parti Amanah Negara's (Amanah) Mahasiswa arm today criticised Malaysia's generosity in sponsoring 10 million pounds (RM52 million) for the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) building in the UK while at the same time slashing funding for local varsities.
This is on top of a RM12 million Malaysian sponsorship for the construction as well as interior decoration of OCIS' auditorium.
The sponsorship was announced by Malaysian High Commissioner to the UK Ahmad Rasidi Hazizi in conjunction with Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's visit to OCIS to deliver a keynote speech.
Mahasiswa Amanah's chairperson Ahmad Fadhli Umar Aminolhuda questioned the sponsorship amid heavy cuts in in Budget 2017.
"In the recently announced Budget 2016, allocation for education saw big cuts including Universiti Malaya, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and almost all other public universities which was slashed between 20 to 40 percent," he said.
Ahmad Fadhli pointed out that in total, the operational expenditure for local varsities was slashed by 19.32 percent or RM1.456 billion.
"Therefore, we demand Zahid and the government to clarify whether the government has forgotten its responsibility in developing the country's higher education and is more keen in funding the interior design of a foreign university?
"Will the multi-million ringgit funding see a marked increase in the intake of Malaysian students by OCIS?" asked Ahmad Fadhli.
He added that students cannot remain silent if the deputy prime minister does not provide a satisfactory explanation.- Mkini