On Saturday (10 September), Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the living allowance (ESH) for all Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA)-sponsored students studying locally and abroad will be raised to reflect the increased costs of living and inflation.
According to Malay Mail, students will receive the following increased living allowances:
- Students studying locally for diploma until PhD: RM650 – RM950 monthly
- Students studying abroad for undergraduate degrees until PhD: RM1,380 – RM7,600 monthly.
The increase in allowance, sponsored by MARA will come into effect September 2022 and is expected to benefit 62,998 MARA-sponsored students.
Ismail said that there are currently 4,149 MARA-sponsored students studying abroad, 1,049 of which are studying in 24 universities that have been ranked among the world’s top 50.
Locally, there are 58,849 MARA-sponsored students in public and private institutions.
Ismail said the Public Service Department and MARA had in February conducted a ‘Special Operation’ survey and found that 60% of MARA-sponsored students, who come mainly from the bottom 40% (B40) households, were saddled with increased burden when it came to daily expenses.
“For example, the average monthly expenses for rent and utility bills in major cities amount to around £500 (RM2,733) to £730 (RM3,990), which is between 60% and 70% of the allowance received by each student,” he said.
The survey focused on students living in cities such as London, Bristol and Edinburgh.
Ismail said the lack of financial support has caused students to stretch out their budget, including finding accommodation further away from their place of study and working part-time.
“I am confident that this increase in living allowance is appropriate and fair to help ease the burden of the students from the Malaysian Family facing the increase in living expenses,” he said.