In a somewhat shocking turn of events, Maszlee Malik was reported to have resigned from his post as Education Minister effective today (Jan 3, 2020). The resignation was formally announced during a special media conference in Putrajaya yesterday, and although as of the time of writing we’re not quite sure why Maszlee resigned, it was assumed to be on the advice of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir himself.
“After meeting with Tun (Mahathir) and on his advice – who to me is a statesman, a father figure – with a willing and heavy heart, I Maszlee Malik return my position as education minister to the prime minister effective Jan 3,” – Maszlee Malik, as reported by MalaysiaKini.
Regardless of whether Malaysians had agreed with his way of doing things or not, it can’t be denied that Maszlee did and said some pretty… groundbreaking things during his 19 months of holding the education portfolio.
But instead of looking at where he succeeded or failed in his duty, we thought we’d look at some of the more inspiring things about him. And what could be more inspiring than quotes that you can print out, frame, and put on your desk at work/school?
So sit back, get your dream journals out, and bask in Maszlee’s uncelebrated wisdom on various topics, such as…
1. On people twisting your words
Context: This one seemed apt, since this whole article is about his quotes anyway. While this exact quote was pulled from the Opposition-MPs-can’t-enter-government-schools fiasco from November 2018, he had been claimed to be misquoted during the 1MDB-will-go-into-History-books issue as well. There’s also that time when we thought that he announced a policy about abolishing streaming in schools starting 2020, but he had later clarified that he only sounded like he’s announcing a policy, not actually announcing one. Basically, it’s a quote for days.
Get inspired: As long as you’re no one important, it’s okay to be misquoted. If you’re, like, a minister or something, you should probably make it clear that you’ve been misquoted.
2. On developing the developers of tomorrow
Context: Regardless of whether we know what it means or not, most of us have probably heard of the fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0). This quote was spoken when discussing how the IR4.0 and globalization may change the job market as we know it, and how higher education institutions should know what to expect and prepare their students for the job market accordingly. Interestingly, Maszlee’s approach to the techy subject of the IR4.0 included the human aspects of it as well.
Get inspired: Instead of purely focusing on making shiny tech stuff, we should also focus on making the people that make shiny tech stuff as well.
3. On looking at the important things we’re not grading
Context: This was said at an event during 2018’s National Kindness Week. You know, that time when celebrities and other people came out with their getting bullied stories and stuff. Anyways, during the event, Maszlee had pledged to introduce more kindness into the current school system, which he claimed had forgotten this very basic human element. We assume it has something to do with the bullying problem in schools, but we’re not too sure because there were no more reports about it apart from his deputy participating in a WhatsApp kindness challenge or something.
Get inspired: Kindness is not part of our education system, and you can’t put that in your resume. Learn a new language instead.
4. On how to assert yourself in the face of trolls
Context: We all probably know what black shoes have to do with Maszlee, but he seemed to be taking the trolling in stride. That quote from above was actually taken from an Instagram post of his, a collection of plans for the country’s education system, which was put up in response to a Spotify playlist put together for him by netizens. This black shoes gag again resurfaced last month, when Maszlee reportedly Tweeted a serious picture of himself and said, “What is the Education Ministry’s biggest accomplishments in 2019? Besides black shoes ”.
Get inspired: If you can’t come up with a good comeback, laugh. You can cry in the shower later.
5. On starting things, and finishing them
Context: While it sounds like a word salad, this quote was uttered at a conference for special education issues last September. Basically, back then Maszlee was worried that the officers in his ministry won’t share his passion for improving special education, which may lead to his ministry’s policies remaining as policies without being implemented. So what he’s saying here is that a policy will come to an end once it has been implemented successfully, and both the ones making policies and the ones implementing them have their parts to play in solving the problem that warranted the policy in the first place.
Get inspired: At least, that’s what we think it means. Think of it like the Wawasan 2020 lah. If everyone implemented the policy, wouldn’t you have been reading this on your brain microchips instead?
6. On happiness in the education process
Context: This one is actually from an interview he had with MalaysiaKini pre-GE14. The article itself is a goldmine for quotes, but we picked this one because at first glance, it’s sort of a duh sentence, but the philosophy behind this quote can be seen in a lot of Maszlee’s ‘weird’ policies. He saw that teachers were trapped within a system that kept them from actual teaching work, and students suffer from the reduced quality of the teachers. By removing unnecessary burdens like clerking work or keeping your shoes pristine until Friday, both students and teachers can arguably be happier and focus more on actual education.
Get inspired: To be more productive in your job, cut out the toxic bureaucracy in your life and be happy. Clap your hands while you’re at it. Maybe stomp your feet along with the establishment.
Wah, just what I needed to face 2020!
Such inspirational wisdom! But we still have a problem at hand. Now that Maszlee has stepped down, what’s next? Who will be the new Education Minister? We dunno yet, because everyone is still pretty shook at the time of writing. Hints of a controversy are still flying around, but it’s too early to say anything.
Dr Mahathir had said that he will announce Maszlee’s successor soon, so we guess we’ll wait for further development on that. Until then, while Maszlee may no longer be in charge of the nation’s education, his inspirational words will remain in our hearts as a beacon of hope that will get us through 2020.