Slammed by critics at open dialogue, Maszlee says no more political appointees in education system

Moving forward, Maszlee said there will no longer be political appointments to 'certain positions'. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Moving forward, Maszlee said there will no longer be political appointments to 'certain positions'. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

SUBANG JAYA, Feb 14 — Education Minister Maszlee Malik said he will ensure that there will not be any political appointees for all top posts in the education system.

However, when asked by the media to clarify on the political appointments he meant, Maszlee emphasised that such appointments of Parliamentarians is not allowed by law.

“According to the law, MPs cannot hold positions as civil servants.

“We will not appoint politicians, Parliament members, for top positions. They cannot be vice chancellors or deputy vice chancellors,” he told a press conference after a open dialogue on Malaysian education organised by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.

At the dialogue, Maszlee told an audience of 200 attendees that there will no longer be political appointments to “certain positions” as “the way forward”.

“I won't do it... that will be done through the empowerment of our higher learning institution.

“We won’t repeat the mistakes done by the previous regime,” he said, in response to a call by former Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM) director general Datuk Dr Syed Ali Tawfik al-Attas that political appointees be removed.

The academician had earlier, at the dialogue, criticised the current education system to be broken as the wrong people had been appointed to manage the system.

“If you want something to happen (to the education system), get the right people. These are not the right people.

“Political appointees, political affiliated people are not the right people. Get rid of them.

“You talk about lifelong learning, that is a great thing. You talk about excellent, wonderful wondrous... all these keywords are all political words... political catch phrases,” Syed Ali Tawfik told Maszlee.

Syed Ali Tawfik’s remarks came not long after an outburst from a teacher during the event, who had expressed his frustration at the dialogue and the education system for focusing more on philosophy rather than the basic issues in schools and learning.

“Let’s face the reality... this education system is broken.

“You don't seem to understand the mind of young students, how they are prepared,” said Syed Ali Tawfik to Maszlee.

“You have to have logic, reason. These are inculcated in reading, writing and arithmetic,” Syed Ali Tawfik also suggested that subjects and syllabus for students from Standards One to Five be reduced and narrowed to three basic fields of education.