46 per cent of MRSM students from B40 group - Asyraf Wajdi

03 Jan 2024 08:19pm
Sinar Wacana programme, 426 edition titled 'MRSM For B40 Only?' was aired live on Sinar Harian platforms yesterday.
Sinar Wacana programme, 426 edition titled 'MRSM For B40 Only?' was aired live on Sinar Harian platforms yesterday.

SHAH ALAM - A total of 46 per cent of students currently enrolled in Maktab Rendah Sains Mara (MRSM) nationwide belong to the low-income (B40) group.

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) chairman Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki said that the figure includes students from 55 existing MRSMs, with 30 per cent falling into the middle-income (M40) group and 24 per cent in the high-income (T20) bracket.

"These are the latest obtained data. Some people claim that every week while visiting children (at MRSM), there are those driving BMWs or Vellfires.

"I am concerned because it's my mandate to ensure that B40 children are given a place.

"That's why I asked for the data list from the Bahagian Pendidikan Menengah (MARA Education Department), and this is the information available today but it is important to remember, even for the M40 group, don't just look at their income.

"This is household income, a combination of parents' incomes. If they earn RM6,000 but live in Kuala Lumpur with six children, that could be categorised as B40," he said during the Sinar Wacana programme, 426 edition titled 'MRSM For B40 Only?' aired live on Sinar Harian platforms yesterday.

Also invited as panellists were former MRSM teacher Nur Aziera Mohd Ramli and President of the Association of MRSM Alumni Association (Ansara) president Mohd Fadzli Yusof, while Ismail Adnan acted as the moderator.

Meanwhile, Asyraf said that the government's allocation for all 55 MRSMs nationwide amounts to RM728 million, with RM108 million allocated for development purposes such as improving Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programmes, school maintenance, dormitories, and more.

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"There are over 3,000 MRSM teachers, and all aspects need to be thoroughly reviewed," he said.

Regarding the expenses for a student, Asyraf stated that approximately RM22,000 per year was required to cover the costs of a student at MRSM.

For the B40 group, he explained that the government provides the Budi scheme, involving collaborations with various corporate sectors, including State Islamic Religious Councils and Zakat Centres, to provide assistance, including exemption from initial school fees, monthly allowances, and free school uniforms.

"MRSM fees are affordable, not referred to as fees but contributions ranging from RM80 to RM100.

"Even then, we ensure that if someone is unable to pay, they can still enrol.

"Generally, if we look at MRSM, it's different from regular schools; there are additional activities.

"When we talk about holistic education, it's not just about focusing on academics; they are given other skills.

"That's why it's important to have the T20 group because many additional programs are funded by them through agreements acting as the Parent-Teacher Association (PIBG).

"If MARA is asked to cover everything, we won't be able to," he added.