PARLIAMENT | The Education Ministry is set to roll out free higher education for the needy starting next year.
According to a written reply, the ministry will provide free education in public universities beginning with selected disabled students as well as zakat recipients, who normally comprise the poor, in 2020.
The ministry said the goal is to eventually expand this policy to the B40 income group 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 percent of the total intake)," it said.
The written reply, dated July 3, was in response to Annuar Musa (BN-Ketereh) who asked if the government planned to push ahead with its free education policy.
The ministry said at present, education at the primary and secondary level is already free, while those studying in public universities only have to pay 10 percent of the operational cost.
"This means a public university student indirectly receives a subsidy of 90 percent from the government," it said.
However, it said the plan being considered to make it completely free requires detailed study.
"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."