KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 — The government is still studying a proposal for private and paid Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) Junior Science Colleges (MRSM), Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said today.
In a parliamentary written reply to Kota Raja MP Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud, Ismail again clarified that Putrajaya is not planning to impose payments on all MRSM in the country.
“Via the formation of this paid MRSM, MARA will be able to open up more opportunities to those who can afford to pay to send their children to study under the MRSM academic system.
“Therefore, for the time being, it is not MARA’s stand to make all of the existing MRSM into paid MRSM,” Ismail said.
In November last year, Ismail had proposed the private MRSM, saying it will be a separate scheme from the current one.
Ismail said even if the proposal were considered, it would not mean that Putrajaya will stop subsidising the current MRSM scheme for children in the urban poor category.
In his reply today, Ismail said that for 2017 alone, 60,000 students have applied to enrol into MRSM, while there are only 7,000 available seats in the said colleges for Forms One and Four, throughout the country.
Ismail last year announced that the paid MRSM was under his ministry’s consideration after receiving requests from high-income parents who wanted to enrol their children with good UPSR results in MRSM.
According to him, such MRSM will be built in the Klang Valley area and the fees for the proposed paid MRSM would be “slightly lesser” than private and international schools.
However, he later added that the fees have not been finalised and would depend on the cost of the school.