Former education minister Maszlee Malik has alleged that Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin was responsible for his dismissal over a contract issue involving YTL Communications Sdn Bhd when the two served in Pakatan Harapan government.
In his new book, Memori Bukan Memoir, the Simpang Rengam MP said he was called up by then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad five times over the matter.
The academic-turned-politician disclosed that he was joined by Education Ministry leaders in two meetings with Dr Mahathir to explain the decision not to extend YTL’s contract as a service provider for the 1BestariNet project, initiated by Muhyiddin in 2011 when he was education minister.
“I am often asked whether Dr Mahathir’s request for me to return my position was due to the 1BestariNet issue, or more specifically the YTL’s controversial contract with the Education Ministry.
“I can say that this is not the only reason, but it was one of the reasons that the prime minister asked me to do so, and according to him, it was at the request of Muhyiddin.
“In my last meeting with Dr Mahathir, I can still remember he said: ‘The Bersatu president is very angry with you because of this issue,’ and not too long after that, I received an email from him to return the post which was given to me on June 2018,” wrote Maszlee, who is now an independent MP.
In January 2020, Maszlee announced his resignation, citing three of his decisions, which are widely perceived to have plunged the Pakatan Harapan government into crisis: teaching Jawi in vernacular schools; providing the schools with internet access; and the free breakfast programme.
However, he kept quiet on the 1BestariNet and the YTL contract.
Maszlee’s proposal to teach Jawi in vernacular schools did not sit well with Chinese and Tamil education groups.
Their opposition subsequently elicited a hostile reaction from Malay pressure groups, who viewed the rejection of the Arabic script as an affront to Malay culture and history.
This resulted in calls from the Malay groups for vernacular schools to be shut down, while the Chinese educationists leading the charge against Jawi in national schools became the target of hate groups and threats. – TMI