GOING 50: PEOPLE BEHIND THE TARC HISTORY

February 13, 2018 at 6:14 pm

“GOING 50: PEOPLE BEHIND THE TARC HISTORY”
13 February 2018

Speech by Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Liow Tiong Lai
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, TARC Education Foundation,
Chairman of the Board of Governors, TAR UC,
President of Malaysian Chinese Association,
Minister of Transport

Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Today on this auspicious occasion, I bid you a very good morning and warm welcome to the celebration of Tunku Abdul Rahman University College or TAR UC countdown towards its 50th anniversary. TAR UC will reach its 50th year milestone on 24 February 2019 but today marks the commencement of the countdown that will hype up the momentum to TAR UC’s golden celebration next year.

2. Today’s event is also historic as we are here this morning to witness the naming of 10 notable buildings in TAR UC campus after its founding leaders who gave very significant contribution to the setting up of this institution. I hope you stand proud today to be able to look back into the 50 years journey that TAR College and now TAR UC has trail blazed to reach its present stature – a humble college in 1969 to now a university college with 6 campuses, 28,000 students and 180,000 alumni!

3. As the President of the Malaysian Chinese Association (‘MCA’), I am honoured to be celebrating one of MCA’s greatest contribution in building our beloved country, which is through the provision of quality and affordable tertiary education to Malaysians through the setting up of TAR College at a time when tertiary educational opportunities was hard to come by. Since established in 1969 as Tunku Abdul Rahman College or fondly known as TAR College, this institution has firmly upheld the noble aspiration of the late Tun Tan Siew Sin, the founder of the College and its First President and also former President of MCA, to provide equal opportunities to all Malaysians to pursue excellent tertiary education regardless of their age, race, class or creed. Despite many challenges, its humble beginnings saw only 764 students in its initial intake and operating from rented premises scattered around the Klang Valley, TAR College steadfastly evolved and transformed over the 5 decades hitting bumps along the way but never to waver from the aspiration of our founder. Each leadership at MCA further endorsed the importance of education for the people and that saw TAR College grow in quantum leap to branch out to 5 other states namely in Penang in 1994, Perak and Johor in 1998, Pahang in 1999 and Sabah in 2002. The setting up of branches in different states was to bring education to the people through widening access to education to communities in different regions in Malaysia. Through prudent management by the pioneering principal, heads and staff, they painstakingly steered TAR College to grow from strength to strength, never once to waver from its philosophy, determined to elevate its standing and this is the result of its current stature. The success of TAR College owed much to them too and I salute them for their commitment and dedication. Today, TAR UC stands proud as one of the leading institutions of higher learning with a student population of more than 28,000 and running more than 100 programmes at various levels and disciplines, from Foundation to Master degree and very soon, Doctorate degrees.

4. Despite having accomplished so much in the sphere of education, the University College continues tirelessly in its outreach efforts to bring quality and affordable education to more Malaysians. In 2017, TAR UC launched its new purpose-built campus in Kuantan, Pahang as well as the ground-breaking ceremony of the purpose-built Sabah Campus in Kota Kinabalu which is expected to be ready in 2019. In the institution’s run-up to the 50th anniversary celebration, it is apt and fitting to mention that TAR UC has 50 years of distinction in shaping many Malaysians to transform from aspiring youths to national leaders, industry captains, prominent entrepreneurs and high calibre professionals contributing to the country’s growth and prosperity. Today, more than 180,000 TAR UC alumni are literally blazing a trail of their own success stories all over the world bringing much glory to the nation. To the many alumni who are here to celebrate with us, we are so very proud of all of you and your success.

Ladies and gentlemen,

5. It is undeniable that MCA had given our nation its best gift by establishing the then TAR College and today, this notion still holds true as the institution continues to lend its greatest support to Malaysia in terms of human capital development. Over the course of 5 decades, TAR UC is still relevant as the University College continues to rise up and be recognised as one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in the country as well as abroad. Its accounting programme has earned such a distinguished reputation that ACCA awarded the then TAR College in 2007 the highest award, Platinum status under the ACCA’s Approved Learning Partner and this Platinum status has been maintained to this day as our students continue to achieve results that surpass the world pass rates in the ACCA external professional examinations. In addition, TAR UC remains the only institution in the world approved by ACCA to run the Internally Assessed ACCA Fundamentals Programme since 1987. In 2012, the institution won the prestigious award of The Most Engaged Institution of Higher Learning – Industry Academia Collaboration by the Knowledge Workers Development Centre of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation or MDEC.

6. In 2013, TAR UC continued to chart its course towards excellence with the Industry Centre of Excellence (ICoE) award by the Ministry of Education. In 2016 at the Asia Pacific CSR Awards, TAR UC was honoured as the recipient of the Excellence in Education Improvement Award, recognising TAR UC’s efforts in being socially responsible to widen access to quality education in Malaysia. In 2017, TAR UC was selected amongst only eight institutions in Malaysia as a Premier Digital Tech University by the Ministry of Higher Education and MDEC. This is truly a stamp on the excellent quality of the Computing and IT programmes offered here at TAR UC. The highlight in 2013 was when TAR College was upgraded to University College which signified an absolute recognition for its quality education. TAR UC has certainly been steadfastly growing in strength and I am confident TAR UC has the credential, the track record and capabilities to be upgraded to a full fledge university soon.

Ladies and gentlemen,

7. Having said that, all the achievements would not have been possible without the visionary foresight and strong leadership of its founding leaders who laid the firm foundation on which TAR UC could stand strong and grow. We could not be grateful enough to the late Tun Tan Siew Sin for his vision and leadership in founding TAR College. And as the saying goes, ‘the journey of a thousand miles starts with a first step’. And if Tun Tan were to be here today, he would have been proud but nevertheless his daughters Datin Paduka Tan Siok Choo and her sisters are here as witnesses. And we are thankful to the late Yang Teramat Mulia Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj for assenting to the institution being named after him which lends TAR College its identity and sense of purpose. Not forgetting to show our utmost appreciation to the late Tan Sri Khaw Kai Boh and Tan Sri Lee San Choon for their unflinching spirit in setting up and securing the means to sustain the then TAR College. I think Tan Sri Khaw’s son, Mr Khaw Chay Tee is here and must be proud of his father.

8. Our tribute also goes to the late Dato’ Lew Sip Hon for the pivotal role he played in the development of TAR College serving as the first Chairman of TAR College Council and spanned over 11 years from 1972 to 1983. His daughters Ms Dorothy Lew and other family members are here and must be so proud.

9. TAR UC also owes so much to the contribution of Yang Amat Berbahagia Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik for his Chairmanship in TAR College Council that spanned 18 years from 1986 to 2004. During Tun’s tenure, he spearheaded many donation drives such as taxithon, frying Char Kweh Teow with the hawkers to raise funds that led to much expansionary initiatives including that of setting up the 5 branch campuses in the various states of Malaysia making the presence of TAR College felt and dutifully serving its purpose and mission. Thank you, Tun, for your selflessness and commitment to education and to TAR UC.

10. Our reverence also goes to the many great unsung heroes such as the late Dr Thong Saw Pak, the first Principal of TAR College who had to work with very little resources to prudently manage the College in the early years, the late Mr Chong Yean Seong, the first Head of School of Business Studies whose visionary leadership moulded TAR UC to be one of the most recognisable institutions in providing excellent professional business education today, Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Kum Boo, the first Head of School of Technology who was instrumental in obtaining recognition for TAR College’s Diploma programmes offered under the School of Technology from engineering professional bodies in the UK and Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Dr Ng Lay Swee, the first Head of School of Arts and Science who spearheaded the collaboration with Campbell University and subsequently Sheffield Hallam University and Liverpool John Moores University to enable many TAR College students to have the opportunity to obtain overseas Bachelor’s degree.

11. I would like to invite all present to join me in putting our hands together as we pay tribute and gratitude to these significant luminaries who have worked relentlessly to lay the strong foundation for TAR UC to be what it is today! Indeed, they are the people behind the TARC History and there’s no better way to pay tribute to them then to remember them as we are going 50. In view of their immeasurable contribution, today’s event will witness 10 buildings in TAR UC to be named after them as a gesture of gratitude as well as to honour them for their exemplary work for the institution.

12. At the same time, I would also like to highlight that there were many other contributors who had worked just as hard and contributed in various forms and ways to the College in the early years and to whom we are also eternally grateful. First and foremost, our appreciation goes to all the Council Chairmen of the then TAR College for their instrumental contribution in developing the College. Apart from the late Tan Sri Khaw Kai Boh who was the Interim Council Chairman, Dato’ Lew Sip Hon, Tan Sri Chong Hon Nyan, Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek were all the Council Chairmen of TAR College who governed the College so well that today, TAR UC is able to stand tall and be the pride of the nation. They were all from MCA with Tun Dr Ling, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and Tan Sri Dr Chua being MCA President and this shows the commitment of MCA in furthering education through TAR College. I would also take this opportunity to thank all the former TAR College Council members for their contribution in developing TAR College as well.

13. Not forgetting the former Principals of TAR College who tirelessly dedicated themselves to building up and leading the College as the baton was passed on to them with equal commitment and dedication upholding the philosophy for which the institution was set up. Apart from the late Dr Thong Saw Pak and Tan Sri Dr Ng Lay Swee, special mention should go to Dato’ Dr Lim Khaik Leang and Ms Yoong Lai Thye, former Principals of TAR College for they too deserve our utmost respect, appreciation and gratitude for their invaluable contribution during their service with us. Thank you, Dato’ Dr Lim and Ms Yoong. My final tributes will be to the people of all walks of life all over Malaysia including all MCA comrades, alumni, hawkers, taxi men and people on the street for their kind donation to raise fund for the College.

14. The naming of the buildings is just the first wave of recognition and you would have noticed that they are all the “first” in their positions, if not the longest serving, and there are still a lot of buildings on the various campuses and this tribute and recognition will not end here. There is a historical plaque specially put up in the first administrative block, now named as Bangunan Tan Sri Khaw Kai Boh, where we acknowledged all who were involved in the initial working committee, the Interim Council and also the First Council. This is an acknowledgement of our gratitude. This is based on our old records kept by the Registry and some of the contributors might have honorific titles of which we were not able to trace which we apologise but would be pleased if you could let the University College management know so that we could set it right. Though some of your names may not be mentioned today, rest assured that you are also remembered, treasured and honoured by all of us at TAR UC. I salute all of you! Thank you very much!

15. I should also not forget the past and present staff of TAR UC who have showed so much dedication and commitment to work alongside each leadership to continuously and steadfastly steer this institution to greater heights. Kudos to all the staff present here today! Thank you!

Ladies and gentlemen,

16. On that note, today’s event is truly a meaningful occasion for us to remember and to cherish. It also reminds us of our Asian values that we should always hold dear our respect for the elders and to have a great sense of gratitude. These are values we wish to inculcate to our staff and students. So today’s gesture in honouring our significant luminaries speaks of the gratitude we have for them and their contribution. Before I end my speech, I would like to express my gratitude as Chairman of the Board of Governors at TAR UC to the founding leaders present here today. I would also like to thank the family members of the leaders who have passed on for representing them on this momentous occasion. TAR UC could not have achieved so much without them paving the way and laying the strong foundation.

Thank you.