Malaysia's much criticised Education Minister resigns
KUALA LUMPUR: One of Malaysia's most criticised ministers has resigned.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik's resignation means Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed has to make a Cabinet change, the first since the Pakatan Harapan coalition came into power.
Dr Maszlee had been ridiculed by the public for his introduction of black shoes for students. He was also criticised for his handling of the controversial decision to teach Jawi, or Arabic script, in Chinese and Tamil schools, The Straits Times reported. There was an online petition last year calling for his resignation and it drew 160,000 signatures.
Dr Maszlee said at the press conference to announce his resignation: "I have been seen to be the cause of many crises, including the Jawi calligraphy issue... However, I believe I have placed a foundation and a clear framework for the ministry to follow."
Dr Maszlee, MP for Simpang Renggam, was appointed as minister in May 2018.
At the press conference, he highlighted the achievements by his ministry in a bid to stress how his tenure was inadvertently embroiled in political rather than policy issues, the Malay Mail reported.
"We have accomplished much in the 22 months since Pakatan Harapan became the government, that was not done during the BN administration.
"We were the first ministry to make a report on our performance in the first 100 days... And we were also the first to do so within a year of becoming the government," Dr Maszlee said.
He also cited several other key objectives achieved during his tenure, including the completion of upgrades for 90 per cent of poor schools in Malaysia.
Asked why he was resigning despite these achievements, he told reporters: "I believe whatever decision that has been made, that has been advised to me by the prime minister, is in the best interest of the country."
Dr Mahathir said in a statement said he had accepted Dr Maszlee's resignation.