No big deal, says Kadir Jasin on Maszlee’s resignation

A Kadir Jasin says in Malaysia, ‘normal things’ like a minister resigning can be strange and sensational.

PETALING JAYA: Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin has downplayed education minister Maszlee Malik’s resignation last week, saying the matter was a normal occurrence in any developed or politically unstable country.

“In a developed country, or in a country with unstable politics, it is not only ministers who get fired or resign — prime ministers, too, often resign,” the special adviser on media and communications to the prime minister wrote on his blog today.

Kadir said the prime minister had the discretion to advise or dismiss Cabinet ministers without needing to disclose his reasons, especially if doing so could make matters worse or negatively affect a person’s reputation.

“Ministers getting appointed, getting fired and resigning — these should all be normal, but in Malaysia, normal things can be strange and sensational,” he said, adding that ministers also had the right to resign voluntarily.

Speaking on Maszlee’s resignation specifically, Kadir said this was nothing special. “Maszlee was advised to resign. He obliged. So, he resigned.”

He said Dr Mahathir Mohamad would usually allow ministers to resign voluntarily, “and if they refuse, only then would they get fired”.

“Usually, his actions to advise a minister to resign would not be based on ministerial performance alone. He has additional reasons. He has his sources and receives a lot of intelligence,” he said.

Maszlee announced his resignation on Thursday, some 20 months after he was appointed education minister with expectations of major reforms in the education sector.

He said his decision to quit was based on Mahathir’s advice.