KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — The increase in the living allowance (ESH) rate for scholars under Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA) which takes effect immediately will ease the burden faced by the sponsored students in the country as well as those who are pursuing higher education abroad.

A Management and Science University (MSU) student, Nur Athirah Zahra Zakaria, 23, said the increase will benefit her as the previous rate was not enough, forcing her to ask for her parents’ help.

The Fashion Design student said the previous rate was no longer appropriate in the face of the rising cost of living that had put a burden on her as a student living in the city, adding that she had to pay for house rent, utility bills, internet access, daily expenses and more.

She said after paying all the necessary expenses, she will only be left with between RM200 to RM300 while waiting for the next allowance.

“So, I have to get more money to cover my living costs and buy items needed to complete my assignments,” she told Bernama when contacted today.

According to Athirah, she will sell her fashion sketches to companies that are willing to pay to stay afloat.

Her course mate, Nursarah Hazwani Sharifuddin, 23, said the increase in the ESH rate is a huge gesture for students studying fashion design as they have to spend a lot in preparing the items required by the course.

She said she would spend RM450 on room rental, utilities, broadband and parking fees, excluding daily expenses such as food and petrol.

“I have to find time amidst a busy schedule to make extra money while making sure that I finish all the assignments given by my lecturers,” she said.

A medical student at the International Medical University who only wanted to be known as Fadzli said the new allowance rate could ease his financial burden and help to increase his focus on his studies.

Meanwhile, the National Liaison Committee of the United Kingdom and Eire (BPN UKE) in a statement yesterday (Sept 11) said that the increase in the living allowance was in line with the rising living costs and expenses in the United Kingdom, adding that the restructuring of the ESH rate, which has not been revised for the past 12 years, was the government’s initiative to take care of the welfare of MARA scholars in the country as well as abroad.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the new living allowance rate for local students has been increased from a minimum of RM650 to a maximum of RM950 per month from diploma to professional and doctoral degree levels.

As for students studying overseas, the minimum has been increased to RM1,380 per month and the maximum to RM7,600 per month, from the bachelor’s degree level up to the professional and doctoral levels.


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