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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, Dec 21: The calls for Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to resign is getting louder not only for his latest ‘medan dakwah’ (Islamic propagation field) remarks but also for his failure to improve or reform the education sector.
Sarawak DAP Socialist Youth (DAPSY) publicity secretary Abdul Aziz Isa issued a statement today echoing the string of calls for Maszlee’s resignation, saying the public cannot afford to have an incompetent and insensitive Education Minister.
“Moreover, keeping him in Putrajaya will be a huge liability to Pakatan Harapan (PH) government. As such, together with the public, I am calling for the Education Minister to relinquish his Cabinet position with immediate effect,” said Aziz.
Maszlee’s remark that religious teachers should make Sabah and Sarawak their ‘medan dakwah’ (Islamic propagation field), which has been perceived as insensitive and offensive, has continued to draw heavy criticisms from various quarters in Sarawak and Sabah.
“It was due to his failure to choose his words wisely that the statement has been misconstrued to mean promoting Islam to non-Muslims. Maszlee should understand that both Sabah and Sarawak are secular states with no official religion,” Aziz pointed out.
Such Islamic terms coming from an Education Minister, he added, was unbecoming and something that Sabahans and Sarawakians should strongly condemn as it would jeopardise the racial harmony in both states.
“As someone with a doctorate degree in political science, Maszlee should acquaint himself with the sentiments and the educational needs of the people in the two states.
“Maszlee should be mindful of his policy and his statements as these may cause fear among parents sending their children to government schools. If Maszlee thinks he is fit to be our Education Minister for the next four years, he should start to learn the Sabahan and Sarawakian way of living in order to be a true Malaysian,” he advised.
Aziz concurred with DAP Bukit Assek assemblywoman Irene Chang’s stand that no one should be allowed to use schools as a platform to propagate issues that could touch on the sensitivities of Sarawakians.
“Maszlee should address and resolve on an urgent basis like reviewing the education syllabus for primary and secondary schools,” he said.
Furthermore, he highlighted that Maszlee, who has been the new Education Minister for seven months now, turned out to be a big disappointment. Even those in the teaching profession felt that Maszlee is not fit to become the Education Minister.
“This is another reason for making this call because he has failed to deliver PH promises to revamp our education system as well as our education policy,” he added.
For example, Aziz said Maszlee failed to deliver the promises PH made to give full recognition to the Unified Examination Certificate (UEC) for independent Chinese schools, refused to step down as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president, and emphasised too much on small changes such as ‘black socks’ and ‘swimming pools thingy’.
“He did little to address the need to revamp the whole education system, particularly in strengthening English as a second language in schools. To list down his failures as Education Minister will be a huge embarrassment to PH government.
“Might as well Maszlee should pack up his things and send a resignation letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” he reiterated. — DayakDaily