THE Prime Minister has not said anything about removing the higher education portfolio from the Education Ministry.
There needs to be coherence between lower and higher education and we have achieved so much more after these two areas were merged, said Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.
“I was with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Aug 23 and no such thing was discussed.
“What we did talk about was the improvement of English proficiency and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
”Every time I meet the Prime Minister, he will ask about the latest developments in these areas, ” he told reporters at the launch of the Yayasan Sukarelawan Siswa mini library and free tuition programme in Subang on Aug 24.
Last month, Dr Mahathir indicated the possibility of a change in the portfolios of his Cabinet but said there would not be a re-shuffle.
Maszlee, a first-time politician, is the second academic to hold the Education Minister post.
He was thrown into the deep end when it was announced that he would be heading the biggest ministry in Malaysia — the Education Ministry with the previous higher education ministry merged back into one huge portfolio.
On whether the ministry would re-look at ways of helping students from the bottom 40 group (B40), Maszlee said he would have to consult with the country’s economic experts and academics on the situation.
He was responding to a call by Prof Philip Alston, a UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, for Malaysia to reassess its poverty rate that he claimed was between 16% and 20%, and above the official figure.
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