Staff and students of a university in Kuching have expressed their displeasure over what they say are exorbitant charges they have to pay for parking on campus.
Students of the Swinburne University of Technology, which is located at Jalan Simpang Tiga, also question why a private company is collecting the parking fees, instead of the university itself.
The fees are currently being collected by the Kuching City Parking Systems Sdn Bhd (KCPS), which also collects parking fees in the whole of Kuching City.
“Why must the company collect parking fees from the carparks of the university as well? Who allows them to do so?” Sarawak DAP Socialist Youth chief Wong King Wei said during a press conference recently.
The students and staff are charged RM 1 for the first hour of parking, and a further RM 1 for each subsequent hour.
“The fees are prompting the students to leave campus as soon as classes are over. As a result, they are not using the campus facilities such as the library as often as they could,” he explained.
Wong also asked about the parties involved in the gazetting of the university grounds as a KCPS carpark.
“The rate is high, even higher than at the nearby The Spring Mall,” he said.
Wong also said that the parking rates ‘could be the highest’ in Sarawak.
KCPS charges 20 cents for the first 30 minutes of parking in the city areas.
The rate for the second 30 minutes is 55 cents and 85 cents for the subsequent half-hour.
Wong said the fees are unfair on the students, who are already paying up to RM 8,000 per semester for university fees.
Students and staff who do not want to pay the fees are parking their cars by the roadside outside the campus compound, he added.
The parking fee is believed to have been imposed since last year.
The Sarawak campus of Swinburne University, which opened in 2000, is a partnership between Swinburne Australia and the Sarawak government.
It has a current student population of more than 3,000 and this is expected to peak at 5,000 by 2013.
Apart from Malaysia, students hail from more than 40 countries including Bangladesh, Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.
KCPS, a brainchild of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, is a private company with shares owned by the Kuching City North Commission (DBKU), Kuching City South Council (MBKS) and a local company, Rezeki Tinggi Sdn Bhd.