MARA officially under Rural Development Ministry

Syed Umar Ariff, Mohd Iskandar Ibrahim and Luqman Arif Abdul Karim

KUALA LUMPUR: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) will be placed under the Rural Development Ministry, and not split up between various ministries as proposed earlier.

Announcing this, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government pledges to provide any assistance needed to ensure that MARA succeeds.

“Because of MARA’s size, (we reckoned) it would not be enough for just one side to manage. That is why we tried to divide MARA’s role among a few ministries.

“Now, we have returned it to just one ministry, which is the Rural Development Ministry. I hope the ministry is strong enough and can shoulder this heavy responsibility,” he said.

Dr Mahathir was speaking at a question-and-answer session at the Congress on the Future of the Bumiputera and Nation 2018 (KBN 2018) at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Saturday.

The session was moderated by Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Also present were the prime minister’s wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali; PKR de facto chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim; and other Cabinet ministers.

Dr Mahathir said he will personally ensure that sufficient assistance is given to the Rural Development Ministry to help it steer MARA.

“MARA remains close to the hearts of the Malays. MARA was previously established as the replacement for the Rural Industrial Development Authority (RIDA). RIDA was set up by the British, focusing on rural issues.

“We then enlarged MARA’s scope to cover education, give out scholarships, establish MARA schools. We also created a university for MARA now known as Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).

“These were among the developments we have done under MARA’s name, not RIDA,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd