In a surprise tweet yesterday, Maszlee Malik admitted that he is aware of his flaws in serving as the education minister.
He also said that he requires assistance from everyone in his reform efforts, for the sake of the future.
“As a minister, I know I have many weaknesses. I am aware and will continue to work hard improving myself,” Maszlee posted in Malay.
“And I believe, change is not the work of a sole man. I need help from all of you.
“For a better tomorrow,” he added.
It is unsure what prompted the tweet, but the minister has been under heavy fire from both the public and within Pakatan Harapan over several of his recent controversial statements.
He was also criticised in commentaries by newspapers and news portals, and by opposition politicians.
In a forum last week, Maszlee had responded to a question on the 90 per cent Bumiputera quota in matriculation by stating that the quota system should not be looked at in isolation as there were Bumiputera being denied jobs because they did not know how to speak Mandarin.
His response triggered a renewed debate on the issue of matriculation quotas, after the Cabinet’s decision to maintain a 90 per cent Bumiputera quota system in the pre-university programme.
Maszlee had also rejected a proposal for students to learn about other religions alongside Islamic Studies, claiming it could bring about more detrimental effects rather than positive ones.
Last year, Maszlee was panned for introducing the black shoes only requirement for schoolchildren, with critics telling him to focus on more important matters in the education system.
He had also suggested that hotels should offer their pools for swimming lessons for schoolchildren as part of their corporate social responsibility.
In December, he drew fire from Sabahans and Sarawakians when he said teachers posted in those states should use their placements as a “medan dakwah”, which was taken to mean preaching about Islam.
Maszlee later said his remarks were narrowly interpreted and “dakwah” also meant “to teach about goodness”.
A few online petitions against him have been started, asking Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to remove him as education minister.
But the beleaguered minister has his supporters, who have started petitions in support of him and have written letters to news editors expressing their stance.