Can Dr Mahathir serve effectively as PM and interim Education Minister?
6 month ago, 10-Jan-2020
Fatimah fields questions from the media in this file photo
KUCHING: In serving as interim education minister, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad looks like he has a hard time in getting a suitable candidate for the post, opined Welfare, Community Wellbeing, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Dato Sri Fatimah Abdullah.
She pointed out that the Ministry of Education post is usually given to senior and experienced candidates.
“Philosophy, policy, vision, mission, strategic plan, blueprint, Early Childhood to Higher Education systems, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and teachers’ training are among the areas of responsibility for the education minister, in order to produce human resources according to the needs of the digital era and the needs of multiracial Malaysia that can contribute to nation-building.
“The responsibilities of the education minister are huge and the scope is extensive,” she said when contacted today after the Prime Minister’s Office announced that Dr Mahathir would be serving as interim education minister until a new one is appointed.
Fatimah noted that with the education system now, there was a need for the minister to sit down with his team of senior officers at the ministry along with relevant stakeholders to give them directions and show the way forward to elevate and transform the education system.
“The question is, can he and does he have the time to do that, being the prime minister at the same time?” she said, adding that her choice of the next education minister would be Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, who was previously Deputy Higher Education Minister.
Meanwhile, Minister of Education, Science and Technological Research Dato Sri Michael Manyin Jawong said the prime minister has the prerogative to appoint anybody as education minister, including himself.
He pointed out that Dr Mahathir has been prime minister for 22 years and has also been an education minister for quite some time.
“A man should learn from experience. With so much experience under his belt, he should know what the country needs to meet the challenges that it will face in future,” he said.
It said the Cabinet on Wednesday (Jan 8) decided that Dr Mahathir would act in that capacity effective Jan, 3 until the next education minister is appointed.
Dr Mahathir takes over the post from Dr Maszlee Malik, who resigned on Jan 3 after holding the post for 20 months.
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