KUCHING: Taking a guess, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) deputy vice-chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni) Prof Datuk Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman feels that the next education minister may be former International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
“I think Mustapa would be a good candidate because he performed when he was appointed the minister of Higher Education before,” he said, adding that Mustapa had vast experience.
He pointed out that Mustapa was also a Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) member, and thus likely to be appointed to politically strengthen the party.
He said there had been many predictions on social media on who would be former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik’s successor.
Mohd Fadzil said that in selecting the next education minister, someone with experience in not just politics but also administration and management would be suitable.
“Another important quality is wisdom, in terms of being very tactful when they talk and make decisions,” he said.
He gave an example that Maszlee had terminated many chancellors and board of directors of universities. “As long as they were not aligned with his aspirations, they would be terminated earlier than expected.”
He also believed the next education minister must be firm and courageous, without flip-flopping, in dealing with issues that may be sensitive.
“There must be no hidden agenda. They must be fair to everybody,” emphasised Mohd Fadzil.
He said Maszlee seemed to have faced difficulties in managing the two clusters of the Education Ministry, namely schools and institutes of higher learning, when they were merged under one ministry.
“He had to attend to school matters which alone already have a lot of issues, then he also had to take care of universities and such,” Mohd Fadzil said.
He said another problem the former education minister had was his tendency to make drastic decisions without first doing proper consultations with stakeholders.
“To me, drastic can be good but if you are not careful, you will get into trouble.”
Mohd Fadzil also said that Maszlee’s case was a lesson learnt for the government when it came to making appointments, pointing out that all these aforementioned qualities had to be weighed and not just based on academic qualifications.
“Maszlee never had management experience before, suddenly he was given this very important post in such a big ministry,” he noted.