LETTER | We read with bemused awe at the concerted effort by the media to belittle and denigrate the efforts made by Maszlee Malik in helming the Education Ministry.
We are perturbed by the complete lack of objectivity in opinion pieces masquerading as news material.
Admittedly, for an academician being thrown into the deep end trying to manage one of the most critical ministries under the current government, it may be a bit overwhelming. Maszlee would have a fairly steep learning curve, first to establish the gaps and pitfalls in the education system from pre-school through to tertiary education.
Next, he would need to establish a wide consultation base from amongst all stakeholders in order to tease out the way forward, cognisant of the promises made to the public as part of the election manifesto.
Finally, he would then have to prioritise implementation of the said reforms in view of the prevailing climate of a cautious economic outlook and restricted funding as a result of the mismanagement under the previous regime.
A fact that seems to have been completely ignored by naysayers and their learned dinner buddies.
Sixty years of crooked mismanagement cannot be straightened by six months of good intentions. Let's take stock of what has actually been achieved.
PTPTN borrowers have had their names taken off the no-travel list, the infamous Universities and University Colleges Act (UUCA) is in the process of being repealed, freedom of association and speech in universities have been reinstated, exams have been abolished for the first three years of primary school, political appointments for university chancellors have been nipped and there certainly has been an increase in attention and funding for schools in Sabah and Sarawak.
Sure, there have been a few gaffes along the way but those in the know and academics such as myself believe that actual, tangible reforms are actually being achieved.
Detractors and their dinner buddies should take stock of where they are going with this crass attempt at political influencing, lest they tip the public against their media outlet.
The same way the public has gone against the once powerful and invincible Utusan Malaysia establishment.
Remember, it is those same freedoms that they are exercising within the climate of free speech extolled by the current government which they have chosen to ignore in the repressive age of the previous regime.
Their readership is still the same urban, multicultural and politically-savvy middle-class which helped bring the current government into power and will not stand idle to see any party stand in the way of actual social and political reform, one that is unique, acceptable and harmoniously in line with the multicultural reality of a new Malaysia.
Our fellow academic dinner buddies would certainly have given Maszlee at least a 7/10 and are far more willing to give him the time and the space to push through the reforms that we have all fought hard to put in place.
This letter is signed by:
Omar Bin Yaakob,
Head of Education Cluster, Pertubuhan Ikram Malaysia
Noor Azlan Ahmad Zanzali
Chairperson, International Centre for Education Excellence
Chairperson, Persatuan Akademia Ikram
Chairperson, Persatuan Guru Besar Sekolah Islam Malaysia
The views expressed here are those of the authors/contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.