Proposed MRSM pay schools will not involve govt funds - Zahid
KUALA LUMPUR - The proposal to establish Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) pay schools for well-to-do groups will not involve any government allocations, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Rural and Regional Development Minister, said this ‘futuristic plan’ by Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) would use the private financing initiative (PFI) and funding through collaboration with financial institutions.
Ahmad Zahid also gave an assurance that the fee-paying MRSM would not be built on land reserved for projects meant to benefit the poor.
"We will cooperate with several parties using smart partnership for its construction,” he said during Minister’s Question Time (MQT) in the Dewan Rakyat today.
He was replying to a supplementary question from Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (PH-Muar) on whether the government would utilise Mara land reserved for poor people and the B40 group to cater for the schooling of T20 and M40 children.
According to him, the fee-paying MRSM can be implemented based on the model of Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz Ulul Albab Melaka.
"Based on my personal experience, I have set up Sekolah Menengah Imtiaz Ulul Albab without a single sen of allocation from the government. I have done it and the school has been operating for 11 years," he added.
Ahmad Zahid said the proposal to set up MRSM pay schools was in response to the overwhelming demand for entry into MRSM, which received applications numbering 300 per cent of its capacity.
"We have conducted a feasibility study and found that many students are eligible to enter MRSM based on academic qualifications but do not qualify in terms of their parents' income brackets, especially those in the T20 and M40 groups.
"One condition (for MRSM admission) is giving priority to the B40 group," he said, adding that there were also too many requests from MRSM alumni who wanted to enrol their children in this institution.
He said Mara would provide the widest opportunity possible for children of these groups to enter MRSM, but without compromising on its quality and the academic requirements.
On complaints raised by Syed Saddiq regarding hidden costs at MRSM, such as for purchase of clothing for certain programmes, Ahmad Zahid said he would meet with MRSM parent-teacher association chairmen to find ways to free B40 children from this burden. - BERNAMA