KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat erupted into chaos today after opposition MPs labelled Education Minister Maszlee Malik the “minister of shoes” when he brought up the subject of footwear during a question and answer session on the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC).
Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong) and Ismail Mohamed Said (BN-Kulau Krau) were heard saying they did not want to talk about shoes and socks.
Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) then referred to Maszlee as the “minister of shoes”.
Maszlee was previously accused of being preoccupied with the colour of shoes and socks instead of other more pressing issues at national schools.
This followed his announcement on July 20 that students would switch from white shoes to black, with a one-year grace period to make the transition.
To the lawmakers who criticised him today, Maszlee said: “The Barisan Nasional MPs are only keen on shoes and socks. That is their level.”
However, the verbal attacks continued on both sides, forcing Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming to switch off the microphones in an attempt to calm the situation.
In his earlier discussion on UEC recognition, Maszlee said a special committee had been set up to look into the matter.
He said the study was expected to be completed next year, after which it would be brought to the Cabinet.
He gave his assurance that the committee would examine the issue from all angles to prevent any politicising.
“This will be done through discussions with stakeholders,” he said. “It is to bring those who are for the UEC, against it, and neutral in the matter, to discuss the issue openly.
“This needs to be done. The previous government never did this,” he said, adding that there had been a lot of misunderstanding on the topic due to the lack of open discussion.