M'sians Slam T20 Parents Who Send Their Kids To MRSM Schools Just To Experience "Hardship"

Some netizens contended that the MARA Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) should be abolished due to the imposition of a 10% quota on non-bumiputeras.

Cover image via Inforakyat & Sinar Harian (Facebook)

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It was recently revealed that some T20 parents allegedly send their children to MARA Junior Science Colleges (MRSM) to learn about "hardships", sparking a debate on social media

The statement was made by MARA Science College Alumni Association (ANSARA) president Mohd Fadzil Yusof during an interview by Sinar Harian on Tuesday, 2 January.

Fadzil claimed that parents from the high-income group choose to enroll their children in MRSMs not to save money on tuition fees, but for the diverse learning environment, particularly the opportunity to interact with students from the B40 group.

"In private [secondary] schools, the cost of education can go up to RM3,000 per month.

"If they (T20 parents) can afford to send their children to private schools, why compete for admission to MRSMs?

"I wonder why this group (T20) wants to send their children to MRSMs and the surprising answer I received is to let their children experience hardship.

"MRSMs are supposedly the best place for their children to make friends with the B40 group," he said.

MARA Science College Alumni Association (ANSARA) president Mohd Fadzil Yusof.

Image via Mohd Halim Abdul Wahid/Sinar Harian

For context, MRSMs were established in 1972 with the objective of giving bumiputera secondary school students from low-income homes a better shot in life

The schools aim to equip students with a foundation in science and technology, specifically targeting those with high academic and intellectual capabilities to nurture and develop their potential.

According to MARA's website, there are currently 55 MRSM schools offering six different types of programmes in Malaysia.

The most popular programme, Premier, is adopted by 26 schools, offering not only the national STEM-based curriculum, but also character-building and entrepreneurship modules.

Meanwhile, schools that offer the IGCSE programme allow students to go through both Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) and national STEM-based curriculums.

MRSMs can be seen as a step-up from regular sekolah kebangsaan, earning a reputation that MRSM alumni are more likely to succeed in life.

MRSMs provide six distinct programmes aimed at equipping students to excel in the fields of science and technology in the future.

Image via MARA

In the same interview, MARA chairman Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki revealed that 46% of MRSM students come from the B40 group, 30% from the M40 group, and 24% from the T20 group

He voiced concern about claims alleging that some parents regularly visit the schools in BMWs or Vellfires, emphasising that his duty is to guarantee that children from the B40 group have the chance to attend MRSMs.

Asyraf also mentioned that the government has allocated RM728 million to fund MRSM's operations, with the average cost being RM22,000 per student every year, reported Sinar Daily.

MARA chairman Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki.

Image via Sinar Harian

After the interview was aired, Fadzil and Asyraf's statements ignited a heated online debate, causing "MSRM" to trend on X since yesterday, 3 January

Many Malaysians were taken aback by revelation that the T20 group allegedly "abuse" a multi-million ringgit government initiative that was originally designed to aid the underprivileged.

"F**ker. When you're T20 and send your kids [to] MRSM, you actually take B40's rights," said an irate X user, while another questioned, "They (T20 parents) think MRSM is a summer camp?"

"The purpose of MRSM is to provide education for bumiputera students from low income families. They've lost the plot completely," wrote another netizen.

Image via X

In the midst of the public debate, a media outlet shared an X post on the matter, complete with a photo of MRSM students in a hall. It quickly sparked reactions from netizens who pointed out the absence of Chinese or Indian students in the image.

"Not even a single Indian nor Chinese. [Meanwhile, some parties argue that] 'SJK schools are the entity hindering our unity.'

"And don't start with the [argument of] 'Non-bumiputeras don't want to enroll in MRSM anyway.' We aren't even given the opportunity the very first place, even though we might be born in the very same hospital," contended a netizen.

Image via X

Another netizen refuted their claim, saying MRSMs have been opened to non-bumiputeras, with a 10% quota, since 2002.

But the rebuttal was met with a retort from another netizen, citing two separate news reports.

"Interesting. By that (10% quota on non-bumiputera students in MRSM), you mean that there are more Malay students in vernacular schools than non-Malays in MRSM, until the extent that a [Chinese vernacular] school even has more Malay students than non-Malays.

"Rather than discussing the abolition of vernacular schools, wouldn't it be more prudent to consider abolishing MRSM schools first?" asked the person.

Image via X

In March of last year, a T20 student faced criticism after expressing dissatisfaction about her classmates not knowing who Harry Potter was:

Meanwhile, check out this story to learn about Malaysians' opinions on the vernacular school system:

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