KUCHING: The Education Ministry is set to provide free education in public universities for needy students starting next year, a news portal reported.
Citing a written reply in Parliament, Malaysiakini reported that the ministry will begin with certain disabled students and zakat recipients.
It said the ministry’s goal was to eventually expand this policy to bottom 40 per cent income earners if there is the financial capacity to do so.
“At present, the ministry is looking at the capability of public universities to provide free education to those who qualify, particularly those from the B40 group.
“If implemented, it will involve an additional cost of RM150 million a year to public universities (assuming the B40 make up 10 per cent of the total intake),” it said, responding to a question from Umno Ketereh MP Annuar Musa who asked if the government planned to push ahead with its free education policy.
The ministry also said at present, education at the primary and secondary level is already free while those studying in public universities only have to pay 10 per cent of the operational cost.
“This means a public university student indirectly receives a subsidy of 90 per cent from the government,” it said.
“The government is considering the proposal to fully provide free education to reduce the people’s burden and ensure their right to education.
“However, the proposal requires detailed research as it would have major financial implications,” it said.