By the year 2020, 20% of local public universities’ income would be earned through real estate, said Higher Education Ministry secretary-general, Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang.
He said with this scenario, public universities were required to improve their hostel conditions and other facilities, for example, ensuring that the hostels were air-conditioned.
“Students will pay based on the hostel facilities provided, probably between RM40 and RM50 or up to hundreds per month,” he said when delivering a lecture on Good Corporate Governance of Universities at Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), here, Monday.
He cited the University of Newcastle in Australia which was earning 40 per cent of its income through property rental, adding that 40 per cent should also be the target for Malaysian public universities in the long term.
“Fees for a hostel and other services related to real estate can always be increased. However, raising students’ tuition fees is political suicide. Post-graduate fees, though, may be increased,” he added.
He said public universities would have a good governance system based on productivity and performance by next year.
He added that he would be meeting the vice-chancellors and board chairmen of public universities tomorrow to inform them of the university performance agreement.
By the terms of the performance agreement, which has to be signed and returned to the ministry before Dec 14, public universities are required to improve on their performance, including financial performance.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently reiterated the government’s pledge in not allowing public universities to raise fees of undergraduate courses.
The assurance was made to safeguard the welfare of public university students despite the reduced budget allocation for the Higher Education Ministry in the 2016 Budget.