PETALING JAYA: Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) was set up in 1966 to increase bumiputra participation in trade and industry and raise their socio-economic status in line with the New Economic Policy. The body was formed after the passage of the Majlis Amanah Rakyat Act.
A council comprising a chairman, a deputy chairman and nine other members form Mara’s top management.
Mara is answerable to the Rural and Regional Development Minister, a position currently held by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
All Mara Council members are appointed by the minister.
The idea to set up Mara was raised in the first Bumiputra Economic Congress held in 1965 in Kuala Lumpur.
The congress issued a resolution calling on the Rural and Industrial Development Authority (Rida) to be restructured.
Rida was formed in 1953 to develop the livelihoods of the rural poor.
The congress argued that Rida was ineffective and it was eventually restructured to become Mara.
With the formation of Mara, Rida’s training arm was also restructured, becoming the Mara College.
The college later developed into Institut Teknologi Mara and then became Universiti Teknologi Mara.
Mara has also set up Mara Junior Science Colleges in nearly every state in the country to meet Mara’s goals for Bumiputra education.
Apart from its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Mara has offices in every state and many districts. It also has operations in London and Washington.
Mara has no less than 20 subsidiaries involved in an extensive range of businesses, including transport and property.