THE proposed “paid” Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) for financially capable bumiputra will not be built on public funds, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
He said the government would look into private financing initiatives for this college.
“We will cooperate with financial institutions for funding. On this matter, we should think without the box, not just outside the box,” he said during Question Time at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
He was replying to Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (PH-Muar) who had asked if there were plans to set up a paid MRSM for those who were financially capable.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Rural and Regional Minister, said applications to enrol in MRSM had exceeded 300% of its capacity.
“We are conducting feasibility studies to determine the number of students who are academically qualified to enrol in MRSM but due to their parents’ income bracket, they are not eligible, especially those in the M40 and T20 groups, as the priority (for entry) is for those from the B40 group,” he said.
There was too much demand, he added, from MRSM alumni who wished for their children to enrol in MRSM, but their income made them ineligible.
“So, without compromising quality and academic qualifications, we will allow as many children of MRSM alumni as possible in existing colleges,” he said.
Ahmad Zahid said if such a proposal was approved, the “paid” MRSM would not be built on Mara land set aside for the poor.
“I will ensure that the land of the poor is not used but instead, we will cooperate with a few quarters through smart partnerships.”
Later, while launching the Halal Industry Master Plan 2030 (HIMP 2030) at the Parliament building, Ahmad Zahid said a new mechanism or process had to be put in place to speed up the issuance of halal certificates, which currently takes about nine months due to constraints, including bureaucracy.
He said the matter was agreed upon at the Malaysian Halal Council meeting earlier yesterday.
“The process of issuing halal certificates should be expedited while complying with the stipulated conditions and without compromising on quality or standards,” he said.