KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 – Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) will not be ‘carved up’, and its financial management will be handled by the Economic Affairs Ministry.
Economic Affairs Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, said the government will continue to uphold MARA’s role as an agency to help the people, especially the Bumiputera.
“There is no questions of MARA being split up, this is absolutely untrue. I hope that all members of parliament will relay this message to those outside,” he said.
Azmin was speaking while winding-up the Supply (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) Bill 2018 and the Supplementary Development Expenditure (Reallocation of Appropriated Expenditure) 2018 motion in Parliament on Tuesday.
MARA, set up in 1956, was the subject of controversy following reports that the agency could be revamped and split up among various ministries.
Datuk Noraini Ahmad (BN – Parit Sulong), when given the opportunity to interject during the Azmin’s speech, had asked the government to clarify the allocations for MARA, including a RM2.1 billion allocation and management expenditure for Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM).
“If the allocation was gleaned from other sources and placed in the (Economic Affairs) ministry, then this has to be explained.
“For example, (an explanation is needed on) the rural economic empowerment programme in place when MARA was under the Rural Development Ministry,” she said.
In response, Azmin said that after Pakatan Harapan took over the government, one of the suggestions made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was to unify several agencies under a single ministry.
Azmin explained that since the Economic Affairs Ministry was newly-established, it needed allocations to continue programmes already in place, including the agenda to uplift the Bumiputera socio-economy.
“This necessitated a reallocation of funds for the ministry to enable it to manage and develop (these initiatives),” he said.
Earlier during the debate, Datuk Ahmad Maslan (BN-UMNO Pontian) had claimed that MARA was being ‘diracik-racik’ (carved up) and being divided among different ministries.
Ahmad proposed that a decision is made on which ministry would handle MARA. Datuk Seri Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) meanwhile added that MARA should remain under the Rural Development Ministry.
This, he reasoned, would enable the minister to monitor and continue programmes which had been planned long ago.