Teachers and education ministry officials who hold office in opposition parties have been told to quit their jobs, reported Chinese daily Kwong Wah Jit Poh today.
A separate report by Bernama, however, has Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid taking a softer stance on the matter.
In its report, Kwong Wah quoted Mahdzir as saying such civil servants should quit as their criticisms of the government were tarnishing its image.
Mahdzir reportedly said they should resign and use their parties' capacity to speak or even contest in the general election if they want to go against the government, according to the Chinese daily.
The ministry will also instruct them to resign, he added.
"We do not allow them to work in the government agency while joining the opposition and even holding party positions," said the press report.
"However, it is acceptable for them to join the ruling parties and hold party positions," he reportedly said.
Mahdzir was said to have made his statements at a ministry policy briefing in Putrajaya yesterday. He cited the example of a former director in the Perlis education department who took to social media to slam the government.
"I also know of one school headmaster who is a PKR leader while another education department officer holds office in PAS. This is not allowed," the Kwong Wah report quoted the minister as saying.
He urged ministry officers and teachers to focus on education reform and voice their dissatisfaction with the ministry or through National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP).
A Bernama report on the same matter yesterday, however, has Mahdzir saying that teachers need only put a buffer between their careers and political ideologies.
"Although there are some educators who support opposition political parties, they need to 'fine tune' and put a 'buffer zone' between their career and political ideology so as not to highlight the character of haters and anti-government elements," said the minister.
He added that teachers needed to be mindful of civil service rules while politicking.