PETALING JAYA: Lawyer and activist Siti Kasim has raised objections on Dr Maszlee Malik’s appointment as Education Minister, questioning his stance as a “progressive Muslim”.
“His stand is not acceptance but tolerance. Maybe that is enough for some people but when people talk about tolerating a necessary evil and they are referring to marginalised communities and non-Muslims, the line should be drawn there,” she said on a Facebook post on Saturday (May 18).
When contacted, Siti Kasim said she has nothing against Dr Maszlee personally and that she has in fact met him many times in forums.
However, she is concerned that Dr Maszlee is holding the Education Ministry portfolio as she feels the current education system is heavily influenced by religion.
"I don't believe in indoctrination from any kind of religion. We should be educating children, not indoctrinating them. How do we know that he would not impose his religious leanings on the education system," she said.
"I would be very happy if I am proven wrong but I wonder why can't we appoint someone like Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah," she added, saying that he had the relevant experience.
She said she would not have raised any objections had Dr Maszlee been appointed to any other ministry.
On her Facebook post, she also shared a link to an online petition for Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be reinstated as the Education Minister.
The petition was started by Raveen Dev at change.org on Friday (May 18) and is addressed to Pakatan Harapan.
It has received over 57,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Dr Maszlee’s appointment has sparked debates about his experience and views, especially regarding his alleged support of controversial preacher Zakir Naik.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Bangi MP Dr Ong Kian Ming has voiced his support for Dr Maszlee, saying that the latter’s CV is impressive and that he should not merely be seen as an ‘Islamic scholar’.