PETALING JAYA: Academics are not necessarily the best choice to lead the education and higher education ministries, says Umno Supreme Council member Puad Zarkashi.
He was responding to former education minister Maszlee Malik’s statement yesterday that academics, and not politicians, should be appointed to fill the posts of education and higher education ministers after the next general election.
“If someone is an academic but has no political will, then the appointment would be pointless. The (most) important thing is ideas and commitment,” Puad said in a Facebook post.
He then took a dig at Maszlee, who is a former lecturer at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), and former finance minister and ex-banker Tengku Zafrul Aziz.
“There are non-political people such as academics and bankers, who when they become ministers, are more interested in politicking. I think it’s more important that they think about the public (instead of politics).”
Speaking at a public policy seminar in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) yesterday, Maszlee said the posts of education and higher education ministers should be filled by academics as they would be in a better position to determine the ministries’ direction.
Maszlee was education minister under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government, from May 2018 to January 2020.
Puad said he hoped to see the new education minister, Fadhlina Sidek, quickly learn about the structure and main issues in her ministry.
He also called for larger allocations for rural schools, especially in Sabah and Sarawak, in Budget 2023 – which will be tabled on Feb 24.