KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 ― The Cabinet has collectively agreed to appoint Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as acting education minister.

The decision, made on January 8, was conveyed in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office today.

“This decision is effective January 3, 2020 and Dr Mahathir will hold the position until a new Education Minister is appointed,” the statement read.

The education portfolio has sparked public debate since Pakatan Harapan took power in the May 2018 general election when Dr Mahathir naming himself as its minister initially, before appointing former lecturer Maszlee Malik, a political greenhorn, to the role.


Maszlee tendered his resignation on January 2 this year, after 20 months on the job.

The Simpang Renggam MP’s brief tenure was roiled by controversy over certain policies like a switch to black shoes instead of white, the implementation or jawi and khat in vernacular schools as part of the national syllabus that shadowed other lauded initiatives like a free breakfast programme for all students and dismantling subject streaming in schools to encourage more inquisitive minds and creativity.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng told reporters yesterday that the Cabinet had finalised a decision on the matter during its latest weekly meeting.


The education portfolio is seen as crucial to Malaysia’s development of a knowledge economy and tough for merging the vast scopes of primary and secondary education with tertiary education at university levels.