Bersara MARA

Considering the significance of MARA’s scholarship/loan evaluation and selection process of viable students and enforcement policies and execution after perusing its list of defaulters published in the newspapers every now and again.

Every once in a while I notice that MARA (Majlis Amanah Rakyat) prints a list in our local newspapers of students they gave study loans or scholarships to. The list is not a roll call of their best students and their achievements like those published by the private colleges and universities in our country. It is not the list of honour. It is MARA’s list of shame. That list it prints comprises those defaulting students who have not paid for their study loans or scholarships that MARA knows about.

Of interest is the racial composition of that list – at least 95% of those on the list are Malays who comprise 60% of the Malaysian population. The other 5% are made up of the Chinese, Indian, various groups of the Orang Asli of East and West Malaysia that collectively comprise 35-38% of our population.

That composition could mean one of two things: It could mean that most of the loans and scholarships given by MARA are to the Malays up to a total of 95% of the benefits given and the non-Malays a meager 5%; or it could mean that scholarships are given equitably (whatever that MARA criteria imposes) as between the Malay and non-Malay students but the Malay students are on average worse at paying back their loans.

If the former then it means MARA has betrayed its namesake by skewing the bulk of its resources towards the Malays – it says rakyat, not melayu, not bumiputera (translation: sons of the earth. It also means that MARA’s operational policy is in flagrant breach of Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution which provides as follows: