KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Controversy magnet Maszlee Malik believes he is learning quickly in his role as education minister, but declined to extend the same assessment to his performance with the key portfolio.
Speaking to the Malaysiakini news portal, Maszlee was asked to say how he was handling the Education Ministry that Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad initially intended for himself.
“I won't rate myself as a minister in these six months, but I would rate myself as a learner.
“I would give myself 9.95 out of 10 (as someone learning on the job),” he was quoted as saying.
He told the portal that he has had to learn various things in a short amount of time in order to carry out his duties.
While he called the task challenging, Maszlee said it was “worth it” for the betterment of the country.
When asked what he felt was his most notable achievement so far, the minister again demurred.
“So only after five years, will I be able to give an evaluation of myself, if there is something I can be proud of.
“But now, it is still an ongoing process and I really need everybody’s support,” he said in the interview.
Maszlee has found a bullseye on his back over curious policies such as the change in the colour of shoes used in school uniforms, leading political rivals led by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to pillory his performance as the education minister.
The PPBM member has been in an uphill battle since Dr Mahathir chose him for the role after the PM was blocked from assuming the portfolio by a pledge in the Pakatan Harapan election manifesto.
However, Maszlee’s recent remarks suggest that Dr Mahathir still has a large say in the direction of the ministry.
Most recently, the minister revealed that the PM directed him to overhaul the school syllabi to incorporate modern subjects such as coding, artificial intelligence, and data science, among others.