Charge the rich more for education to subsidise less fortunate students, Ibrahim Ali suggests

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Datuk Ibrahim Ali says the government can regulate for the rich to pay higher education fees in order to subsidise those from the B40 group. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, May 25 ― Putrajaya can regulate for those from the top 20 per cent earning households (T20) to pay higher education fees in order to subsidise those from the bottom 40 per cent (B40) group, Datuk Ibrahim Ali has suggested.

The firebrand Malay rights activist said students from T20 families should also fully pay in order to enter the Putrajaya-subsidised matriculation programmes.

“It is better to pay for your children’s education than to build homes that are akin to mansions, numerous cars, going on holidays abroad, and so on.

“The price of a return business class ticket to London can already pay for one or two years of the education cost in public or private tertiary education institutions,” said the president of newly-registered party Putra.

A return business class flight to London under Malaysia Airlines can reach up to roughly RM10,000 per head.

“Think for yourself. Children from poor families must be prioritised so they are not excluded, and for Bumiputera it is a right guaranteed by the Constitution,” he claimed.

Article 153 of the Federal Constitution stipulates quotas for Malays and East Malaysian natives in federal scholarships and tertiary education enrolment.

Ibrahim also suggested that education intake be proportioned according to a family’s income level, with only 20 per cent of the spots for T20 households compared to 50 per cent for B40 group, and the rest for the middle class (M20).

“This strategy and policy can help in the children of T20, M20 and B40 to mix and mingle together, and will open their minds across cultures or lifestyles,” he added.

In a forum last week, Education Minister Maszlee Malik had responded to a question on the 90 per cent Bumiputera quota in matriculation by stating that the quota system should not be looked at in isolation as there were Bumiputera being denied jobs because they did not know how to speak Mandarin.

His response triggered a renewed debate on the issue of matriculation quotas, after the Cabinet’s decision to maintain a 90 per cent Bumiputera quota system in the pre-university programme.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had admitted that the matriculation programme was intended to help low-performing Malays enter local public universities as a “back door” method to increase university intake.

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