Maszlee’s resignation was necessary, says Dr Mahathir

‘There are many reasons. I’m not saying that everything he did was wrong’

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / pic by BERNAMA

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday confirmed he wrote a letter to former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik to ask the latter to resign, but stopped short of giving the reasons behind the resignation advice.

The prime minister (PM), who branded the public distribution of his letter as “irresponsible”, defended the decision, saying that it was “necessary”.

“By now, I think the letter I wrote to him has been made public by some irresponsible parties. As you can see, there are many reasons. I’m not saying that everything he did was wrong.

“There were things which he did right but because of the other reasons, I felt it was necessary for him to resign and he agreed. So, he resigned,” Dr Mahathir said in Putrajaya yesterday.

News portal The Malaysian Insight reported that the PM had written a letter to the Simpang Renggam MP asking for his resignation. The letter, which was sighted by the news portal, claimed that Maszlee had defied Cabinet directives on the teaching of Jawi in schools, free Internet service and the free breakfast programme. The report said the letter was sent to Maszlee’s office on Dec 27.

Maszlee announced his resignation last Thursday after a meeting with Dr Mahathir in Putrajaya.

The former lecturer offered no public explanation on his resignation, but merely reiterated his commitment and loyalty to Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Dr Mahathir, the party’s chairman.

Maszlee’s successor has not been named although speculation is rife that it could be an MP from Bersatu.

Dr Mahathir said it was his prerogative to decide who will be the next education minister. Maszlee’s replacement is expected to be discussed in the Cabinet meeting today.

Dr Mahathir also brushed aside a report which claimed that plans to revive the King Salman Centre for International Peace (KSCIP) was the reason behind Maszlee’s removal from the Cabinet. Maszlee on his tweet described the news report as libellous.

“This is defamation. There was never any discussion about the KSCIP when I was the education minister. In fact, what does it have to do with the Education Ministry?” he wrote.

The KSCIP, a centre backed by Malaysia and Saudi Arabia to combat terrorism, was announced by former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak following a visit by Saudi’s King Salman Abdul Aziz. It was supposed to be built on a 6.47ha plot in Putrajaya, but the plan was scrapped after Pakatan Harapan took over the federal government.

KSCIP’s temporary office at Menara HLA on Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur, was also ordered to be closed immediately. The Malaysia Institute of Defence and Security, an agency under the Defence

Ministry, has taken KSCIP’s role. Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir announced that the Cabinet Special Committee on Anti-Corruption agreed in principal to amend relevant legislations that would constitutionalise the process of ending the service of the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The special committee yesterday also agreed to study the application of the same principle for the appointment process. At present, Section 5 of the MACC Act 2009 grants the authority to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to appoint the chief commissioner based on the advice of the PM.