PETALING JAYA: Shortly after Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had backed down from his declared intention to be the new Education Minister, Malaysians started an online petition calling him to take up the portfolio.
The petition at change.org - which was started by Raveen Dev on Friday (May 18) - and addressed to Pakatan Harapan, has since received over 52,000 signatures at the time of writing.
"If you, like us, believe Dr Mahathir should be the Education Minister and will bring much needed reforms to the Education system in this country, please do take a moment to sign this petition and share it among your friends and family," read the petition (which can be accessed at https://tinyurl.com/MahathirEducation).
On Thursday (May 17), Dr Mahathir said he will take over the education portfolio because he needed to give his attention to it and because, he added tongue in cheek, "many people are uneducated".
He said Malaysia’s way of teaching is “outdated” and he hopes that more Malaysians will be more computer-savvy.
Dr Mahathir also said that he will introduce online software to teach students in schools.
However Dr Mahathir said on Friday that he stepped back from taking up the portfolio because Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto states that the prime minister cannot hold any other ministerial positions.
However, the 92-year-old prime minister also said he could take up the Education portfolio, if there is a "demand" by the people.
The Education Minister-designate is now political newcomer Dr Maszlee Malik, who joined Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) on March 12.
He was an International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) lecturer and terrorism researcher before joining Pribumi.