SUBANG JAYA, Feb 14 — Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad hopes to see his Cabinet ministers, and Malaysians as a whole, become a nation that upholds trustworthiness and integrity, said Education Minister Maszlee Malik.
Speaking at a dialogue here today, Maszlee recalled his conversation with the prime minister on the latter’s aspirations of seeing Malaysians instilled with good values through the education system.
“He told me, ‘I want Malaysians to not only become excellent in their examinations, but they must also be equipped with all the values needed to be good citizens. I want them to be trustworthy, full of integrity, to emphasise cleanliness, and to be hardworking, especially Malays,” said Maszlee.
Citing Dr Mahathir’s obsession with Japanese values, Maszlee said he wants Malaysians to have humility and a sense of shame when they have committed a wrongdoing.
“In our first Cabinet meeting, he (Dr Mahathir) said, ‘I want the ministers to have that sense of integrity. If they fail to accomplish certain things, they (should) feel ashamed’,” Maszlee told an audience of 200 at the dialogue organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.
Recently, integrity within the Cabinet has become an issue after Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya’s admission over his academic qualification which he obtained from an alleged degree mill.
Last Wednesday, Marzuki, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) secretary-general, admitted he did not attend the University of Cambridge, despite previously claiming he had taken a long-distance course for a Bachelor of Business Administration degree there.
He explained that his degree was instead from the US-based Cambridge International University.
PPBM has decided not to take action against Marzuki as the party was satisfied with his explanation.
Meanwhile, Maszlee also said there should be more “love” in politics, as he said this seemed to be lacking at present.
“I remember during my lectures in my university days, I always asked my students what are we missing in Islamic studies and politics,” said Maszlee, who taught politics and Islamic teaching.
“What we are missing in the discourse (of politics) is love. We never try to connect love with politics. What we are missing is happiness and this is very strange,” said Maszlee today, a date which coincides with Valentine’s Day.