Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is said to have called on members of the commercial sector in several private functions recently to cease making donations to local universities, Now TV reported Monday night, citing several sources.
Leung was quoted as saying that local tertiary institutions are sitting on a wealth of financial resources and are even overstaffed.
He reportedly told potential donors to instead give their contributions to scientific research projects and allocate the “leftovers” to secondary and primary schools.
It is understood that vice-chancellors of local universities were present at those occasions when Leung made the remarks.
Many of the listeners were surprised by Leung’s comments as he is the chancellor of eight local universities.
Leung is reportedly keen on facilitating the setting up of a local campus for Karolinska Institutet, a world-renowned medical university from Sweden, in addition having helped solicit a US$50 million funding from Lau Ming-wai, chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings Ltd.
Leung also allowed the use of Government House recently as the venue of an inauguration ceremony for the Academy of Sciences of Hong Kong, which is now headed by former University of Hong Kong vice chancellor Tsui Lap-chee.
Meanwhile, Now TV quoted sources as saying that the government could announce the appointment of Arthur Li Kwok-cheung as chairman of the University of Hong Kong’s governing council on Thursday, a move that has been widely rumored over the last six months.
Political commentators said the government could be attempting to play down the news by announcing the appointment during the festive holiday, when many pan-democrats, including HKU Concern Group convenor Ip Kin-yuen, are out of town.
A referendum organized by the HKU Academic Staff Association and Alumni Concern Group showed that 95 percent of the 753 teachers, staff and graduate students who cast their votes between Nov. 9 and 13 opposed Li as chairman of the HKU Council.
Leung is spending his holiday overseas from Dec. 25 to 31.
– Contact us at [email protected]