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Minister of Education: THE FIRST FEELING OF DECEIT

To have an Islamist allegedly linked to Ikhwan Muslim Brotherhood appointed as Minister of Education not only disappoints me, but makes me feel deceived and honestly afraid.

The Islamist is Dr Maszlee Malik. I dare not imagine the possible risk on the minds of all the children who will be going to school.

Do I trust Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad? Yes! But I think this is pushing our trust in Tun/Pakatan Harapan (PH) too far. There is a limit. We do not apply blind faith when it comes to such valuable entities such as our Education System.

By designating a person allegedly linked to Ikhwan Muslim Brotherhood, without even caring to communicate on the points of concern, is in my eyes deceitful! If PH disregards our concerns, and if PH thinks that they do not need to communicate or connect with us, then they are eroding our trust and faith.

It is now beyond my control to influence the situation as I have given PH my vote and they now have free hand.

I now agree that it would be too heavy a burden for Tun to handle a second portfolio. I pushed for the petition because we were offered Tun or the Islamist. There was no other option. Now, I say NEITHER should hold the portfolio.

My concerns

I have nothing against the individual designated as Minister. I am not racist or anti-Islam. No, I’m merely concerned. People say, give him a chance. Let him prove himself. I say that the process is: trial, tested, proven, appointed. Not the other way around. You don’t appoint someone just because he seems to have good ideas, ideas that are not tested, and to some extent have already been proposed. The Ministry of Education (MoE) and our schools are not experimental labs.

People say don’t do “a superficial reading of who he is and what he represents”, “don’t read a book by its cover”. Well you know that is exactly how we feel about this. We do not want to judge him superficially, but we are now forced to accept this Islamist allegedly connected to Ikhwan, just like that.

We WOULD like to know more, and hence the need for trial and to test. You then throw us a list of achievements with no illustrations, no proof. In fact we all know how to colour a CV and how to make less qualified persons think that something is so grand but in fact its negligible in terms of achievement or accomplishment. Take for example the appointment as Advisor for a number of NGOs. This is in fact a KPI for academics of local universities. A person can be appointed advisor and then once a year say hello to the NGO.

And yes, his videos with his ideas do sound nice to outsiders, but I’m sure the officers of the MoE must be saying…”really”…or “this is not applicable”…or “this is just not workable”. How many times have we heard brilliant ideas from people who do not know the policies, processes and mechanisms involved, thus propose solutions that are not workable.

Questions about his PhD 

I would like to draw attention to his PhD. It is presented as a PhD in Governance. My question is, with a Degree and Masters in Islamic Studies, would he be qualified to do a PhD in non-Islamic Studies. Thus this PhD in Governance, is it within the scope of Islamic Studies? If so, it means that his qualifications and exposure are UNIQUELY within a framework of Islamic Studies.

If he really is as good as they expect him to be, why put him in MoE? Why not another Ministry? Are you attempting to use the Education System for Islamic Reform. Well if you fail, you will further damage our education system. And if you fail, a failed attempt for Islamic Reform could degenerate into quite the opposite: talibanism.

What are his tasks?

Depending on what the new Minister has been appointed for, we need to judge whether he is suitable. If the task is to restructure and realign the direction of the Education System…then his background may not be suited to the task. If his task is to address the Islamisation issues, then he didn’t need to be appointed Minister. He could have served as an Islamic Content Expert under a (more neutral) Minister.

The persons who support the newly designated Minister say that he has much to do and that the way forward will be a very tough hurdle. You keep telling us, how about everyone trust him (this unknown, untested person), and give him support and share ideas, etc. Well I’ve listed my demands. But I doubt you will even care about what we care about. You didnt even care to address our concerns on the Ikhwan issue.

The importance of the Ministry of Education

The MoE is a tricky Ministry. This is why the BN always put a senior Minister in charge. I foresee that the first pebble that you will trip over will be language. I foresee that you will introduce, yet again, a change in the language used as medium of instruction. By doing so you will create a huge, huge problem that is in fact avoidable. ‘Language’ is barking up the wrong tree.

I foresee also the miscommunication and disconnection between this Islamist and the people on the ground. So let’s see what happens tomorrow. And I will observe him from far whilst he build his portfolio.

(The views expressed are those of the contributor)

From an academic with solid ministerial experience, who wishes to remain anonymous



(1) There are two petitions making the rounds for the post of Minister of Education. One for Dr Mazlee Malik; the other is to reinstate Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the Minister of MOE. Dr M’s link is here if you wish to sign it. 

(2) There are more posts and videos about Maszlee which I will put up later. Feel free to check them out and also read the links (in blue) above to see what has been said about him.

(3) If you feel that Maszlee shoudl be given a chance and you are prepared to write a short article with the reasons why he is OK for the post of MoF, please feel free to do so.

I am happy to share your views to get a balanced view of the discussion wrt the post of MoE

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