KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 ― The offer of MARA study loans and sponsorship for students to pursue studies is based on criteria already set by the agency, especially on their excellent academic performance, said MARA Chairman Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun.

She said the selection of the successful students is not based on favouritism or because their parents are VIPs or they have “connections”.

“Even if the students are children of VIPs, or  from T20 families, if they are not eligible and do not meet the stipulated criteria, they will not be able to get the study loan or sponsorship or loan,” she told Bernama.

She was asked on some comments on Twitter that some MARA-sponsored students were not eligible for the facility, but got it because their parents are in the T20 group or due to their connections, and not because of their excellent academic performance.

Azizah said the allegations posted on the social media against MARA were inappropriate as the agency had been contributing for the development of the Bumiputera in various aspects, including education.

MARA provides study loans and sponsorship to excellent students from preparatory programmes up to doctorate studies, she said.

She said as of January to Sept 30 this year, of the 50,555 MARA-sponsored students in the country and abroad, 89 per cent or 44,994 of them were from the B40 group, while 10 per cent or 5,055 were from the M40 group.

Only one per cent or 506 students were from the T20 group, she added.

Azizah, who is Beaufort Member of Parliament, said MARA received RM2 billion for development expenditure from the government this year, specifically for its education loan programmes.

The amount is to finance study loans for an estimated 60,000 students, comprising 35,000 existing students and 25,000 new students pursuing studies locally and abroad, she added. ― Bernama