Mahathir’s helming of education ministry does not violate the letter and spirit of Pakatan Harapan manifesto

I was stumped when the press phoned yesterday for comment on MCA/Gerakan criticism that Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s helming of Education Ministry was a breach of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

This was news to me and I can understand why at the Pakatan Harapan presidential council meeting yesterday nobody objected when Mahathir revealed that he would also be the Education Minister as everybody felt it was ok.

How could there be such an election promise when none of the Pakatan Harapan leaders from the four component parties of DAP, PRK, AMANAH and Bersatu had known about it or had made such a public commitment?

What was made very clear at the various Pakatan Harapan ceramahs throughout the country was the institutional reforms on term limit for the Prime Minister and to ensure that the Prime Minister cannot hold the Finance Minister portfolio.
The Pakatan Harapan Manifesto’s “Promise 12: Limit the Prime Minister’s term of office and restructure the Prime Minister’s Department” states: “The prime minister will not simultaneously hold other ministerial posts, especially the post of minister of finance.”

This is not very happily worded, open to different construction. There is an absolute prohibition on the Prime Minister holding the post of Ministry of Finance, which is not applicable to other Ministries.

For this reason, Mahathir’s helming of education ministry does not violate the letter and spirit of Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

We must thank MCA and Gerakan for their criticism which shows that they are capable of performing their Opposition role. But their fatal weakness is their lack of credibililty, stemming from their recent role to aid and abet in the treasonous crimes resulting in Malaysia becoming a “global kleptocracy” and their total silence on the 1MDB scandal.

(Media Statement in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, May 18, 2018)

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Friday, 18 May 2018 - 10:51 am

    I believe the idea was originally for the PM not to hold the key ministry – Finance, Home Ministry and Defense or key any key enforcement agencies but to be honest the wording of the Manifesto was too imprecise because the idea that a PM would want other portfolio like education, women did not seem something any power hungry PM would want.

    Mahathir wants the Education portfolio because if you look at his and co-hort comments before, they believe Education remain the one key policy they never really nailed down during their time.

    Fact of the matter is any promise by PH that is even as a slight flaw will be hit hard. This is why its difficult for UMNO/BN to truly reform and they will turn to race and especially religo politics as part of the ammunition eventually again as key strategy to get back power. PH cannot underestimate the power they have..

  2. #2 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 18 May 2018 - 11:26 am

    When Tun mentioned there are too many ‘uneducated’ people, I think he implied something else. Look at the translation by the media which seemed to say we have a low level of education…

  3. #3 by pulau_sibu on Friday, 18 May 2018 - 11:32 am

    I think the media are uneducated when they wrote Tun is the oldest elected leader. I would prefer the term ‘most senior’

  4. #4 by SuperStringhg on Friday, 18 May 2018 - 11:52 am

    We all know that the Malaysian Education “sucks”, pardon me for not expressing it with a nicer word. It has been “politicised” by BN for a long time making this young generation lack a proper education to face the new world where knowledge and communication is paramount. Any changes to Malaysia Education system will still be blocked by people who have been brain-washed by years of BN propaganda. Tun M is the right person to make rights this very important pillar of society.

  5. #5 by winstony on Friday, 18 May 2018 - 11:58 am

    LKS, I think that you’ll be even more stumped by the following article in the Malay Mail Online today 18/5/2018 under the caption:

    Pakatan Harapan’s next hurdle: The Senate

    Some law experts have come out strongly favouring the retention of the Senate.
    One even go so far as to say that, quote:

    Despite the possible obstacle to reforms, University Malaya (UM) law academic Azmi Sharom disagreed with the suggestion of doing without the Senate, even if this were plausible.

    He said the two Houses served as one another’s watchdog and neither should be a tool to the other.
    – End of quote

    The Senate acting as a watchdog??
    If that is the case, then this country won’t be in such a terrible predicament with so much malfeasance going on!!!
    I also understand that the Senate can be used to create MPs for those who are not elected by the voters!! Or even those who lost the GE.
    If true, the latter alone will make it a wise move to remove the Senate and save some money in the process.
    I also understand that all ministers have made pledges to perform their duties for the benefit of the people and the country.
    But Malaysians are used to seeing all kinds of activities, that are exactly opposite to the pledges, being carried out!
    What was the Senate doing then?
    In fact, all laws that are contradictory to the interests and welfare of the people must be treated treated as null and void!

  6. #6 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 19 May 2018 - 10:16 am

    We should lobby for TDM to head the Education Ministry as well. Those of us who oppose, seizing on PH platform that PM cannot hold another ministerial position read too literally and narrowly and don’t understand nuances ending shooting our own foot! The PM should not hold Finance, Home Affairs & Defence, yes, because that’s concentration that may lead/facilitate abuse of PM’s power – but Education ministry, how will that facilitate ??? Education is an important area, and poor or bad education of citizenry means the country will be a failed state, no matter how liberal laws that will either in due course be repealed or abused to satisfy mob sentiments. This is an important ministry that can direct policies to bring back some English (which TDM) has always favoured) important for access to knowledge and upscaling of cognitive skills, economic progress and most important bulwark against narrow and extremist thinking. This can only be done by a strong Minister who can resist countervailing pressures of conservatives and those who favour monocultural – linqual as opposed to shift to a more multi racial paradigm that the 9th May election dawn is supposed to herald.

  7. #7 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 19 May 2018 - 10:29 am

    The second time around PM is trying to rectify wrongs (including constitutional and institutional) that were embedded during his tenure as first time PM decades ago that clearly need to be reversed of which he alone is in vantage position, with hind sight, knows what needs to be done. Have some trust, support him to do it, see the bigger picture and don’t raise trivial objections like ‘oh you went against your word to hold 2 ministries’ a thinking that only underscores the importance of addressing the education problem that has produced this of kind of shallow thinking- sorry!

  8. #8 by Jeffrey on Saturday, 19 May 2018 - 11:02 am

    YB, TDM giving up the Education Ministry to be held now by Maszlee is -let me just say this- the first and the biggest blunder Pakatan Harapan & this new Administration has done since 9th May which does not bode well for the future.

  9. #9 by winstony on Sunday, 20 May 2018 - 11:32 am

    I think PH has done what the former regime, that was recently deposed by the electorate, has been doing for decades when it was the Masters Of The Universe.
    And that is to leave the electorate completely out of the loop on views on how the country is being governed.
    It is also forgetting that the man in the street is the one who put the coalition there.
    And they must have a voice in what is going on!
    So, what is LKS going to do to rectify this anomaly?
    Otherwise, it will go the way of the former regime.
    I would suggest having a third political bloc as a backup to give the electorate more choices!

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