KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 12 — Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) chairman Datuk Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki has dispelled calls for the MARA Junior Science College (MRSM) to only be opened to low-income families.
In a Facebook post, he said MARA’s policy sets a 60 per cent quota for students from the bottom 40 per cent (B40) households to enter MRSM and the remaining eligible students may come from the other income groups provided they pass the entrance examination.
“Since its inception, MRSM has never closed the opportunity for eligible VIP children to enter.
“Even children of prime ministers have studied at Pengkalan Chepa MRSM and became the President of Ansara,” he said in his post, referring to the MRSM alumni association.
The current president of Ansara is Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, the son of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Moahamad.
Adding more, Asyraf said MRSM has consistently adhered to its founding purpose of cultivating holistic Bumiputera students excelling in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), while concurrently fostering a balanced personality grounded in Islamic values, etiquette and morals.
Asyraf Wajdi said there has never been a policy stating that only economically disadvantaged students can enter the institution.
Priority, however, he said is given to those from the low-income group.
“The diversity of backgrounds among MRSM students fosters positive values of mutual respect, cooperation, and diminishes feelings of inferiority or superiority.
This prepares students for real-world scenarios in a society with various economic statuses,” he said.
Typically, he said parents from the middle 40 per cent (M40) and top 20 per cent (T20) groups contribute significantly to the Parent-Teacher Association, providing various activities and additional funding needed for student development programmes.
“Imagine if all contributions were solely from the B40, who would support the Muafakat association and additional activities at MRSM?” he asked.
Citing the government’s definition, he said M40 includes households (husband and wife) with monthly incomes between RM5,000 to RM10,000 each.
Therefore, he said it is not right to assume that those earning RM5,000 with more than three children living in a major city are all comfortable.