We congratulate the Prime Minister YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad for appointing himself as Acting Minister of Education.

Members of the Sarawak Patriots Association pray that as Prime Minister and Acting Education Minister, YAB TDM can hasten the approval of the UEC. Parents who sent their children to Chinese Middle schools to receive the education can rejoice as our PM is also the Acting Education Minister, we expect that PM TDM shall approve UEC qualifications, without any delay, as an university entrance requirement and entrance to government vacancies.

On the other side, we Sarawakains can expect more allocations from the PM so that sufficient fund shall be generated to Sarawak to repair the delapidated schools. Members of SPA are looking up to the Prime Minister to fulfil the education promises to Sarawak and then he shall return education and health matters to Sarawak so that Sarawak has the autonomy to run education and health matters. SPA is waiting for the acting education minister to reverse the Jawi study requirement in primary schools.

On the other side, SPA is very surprised that the PM has made an U turn again, as PH GE14 election manifesto Promise No. 12 paragraph (4) that “the Prime Minister will not simultaneously hold other ministerial posts….” Initially, he palled to appoint himself as Education Minister, but later on due to people’s expression of unhappiness, he appointed Dr Maszlee Malik.

May be our Prime Minister is the only leader in present world holding an acting ministerial position. SPA is asking:- does that means that there is no other qualified ministers in the PH cabinet who can be appointed as Education Minister ? Does that mean that during the previous 22 years rule as PM, he has not groomed any young leaders who can be Education Minister ?

“Acting” means interim over a period of time. But his appointment as Acting Education Minister did not specify a time frame. Does that mean that he still wants to hold on to office as Prime Minister and now Acting Education Minister ? Does he plan to pass the leadership to Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim, anytime soon, as agreed by the PH leaders prior to the GE14.

We salute the PM for leading the nation at the age of 94. But what does the leaders around the world would say as he is now also acting education minister. We hope there is no unnecessary negative image created due to the appointment.

In fact, after the education minister has resigned, the PM can appoint the deputy education minister as acting education minister. The deputy minister is able and competent. Such appointment would be seen more appropriate. But he decided otherwise.

Datuk Dr Lau Pang Heng
Sarawak Patriots Association