Under-fire Maszlee blames 2008 circular for school policy on visiting Opposition reps

Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Education Minister Maszlee Malik speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur November 2, 2018. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 22 — Education Minister Maszlee Malik today denied banning Opposition lawmakers from visiting schools, pinning it instead on a 10-year-old circular that required them to secure prior permission from the state directors.

Under criticism for failing to uphold Pakatan Harapan’s “New Malaysia” spirit over his recent remarks in Parliament that only Opposition elected representatives are required to get permission, the political greenhorn also said the 2008 education circular will be reviewed after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

“I never banned them or prevented them from coming to schools. The 2008 circular is an old one.

“In the spirit of New Malaysia and after discussing with both Pakatan Harapan and Umno leaders, they suggested the circular needs to be revised and we will do it tomorrow,” he told reporters in Parliament.

The former academic, who has drawn frequent flak since becoming the education minister, sought to clarify the latest controversy on the policy for politicians visiting schools.

“When we have people elected by the people, they deserve to visit schools,” he said.

Maszlee said the 2008 circular actually required all politicians and not just those in the Opposition to get prior permission from the state education directors.

He said his ministry will discuss doing away with the condition.

“Everyone is saying there is no need for permission, so we will revisit the circular tomorrow,” he said.

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