ALOR SETAR: Talk of the next Education Minister to replace Dr Maszlee Malik is still a hot topic with Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir (pic) the latest name to be thrown into the ring.
Speculation here is that Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, who is the Kubang Pasu MP and Anak Bukit assemblyman, will take over as Mentri Besar, and that Jeli MP Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed will be made Deputy Finance Minister.
Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) political lecturer Prof Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani, when contacted, said the vacant position was open to all eligible leaders in Pakatan Harapan.
He said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would likely choose a candidate from his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia to fill the vacant spot.
“In trying to win back the hearts of the people, it has to be someone who has the experience to lead the Education Ministry.
“We cannot rule out Mukhriz as he is experienced, ” Prof Mohd Azizuddin said yesterday.
Mukhriz served as the Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister from 2008 to 2013.
Mustapa and Foreign Minister Datuk Saifudin Abdullah are also said to be likely candidates for the ministerial post.
Both had served in the Education Ministry during Barisan Nasional’s reign.
Mohd Azizuddin said Mustapa was seen as the best candidate to replace Maszlee since he has experience as Higher Education Minister.
USM political analyst and social science lecturer Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian said while there were many eligible candidates to take over the portfolio, it must be someone who could bring back the credibility and reputation of the ministry.
“For me, there are a few that Dr Mahathir may consider including Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was the architect of the current national education blueprint, ” he said.
Sivamurugan said Dr Mahathir might also consider appointing a non-politician, which he had done before in 1999 when he chose former USM vice-chancellor Tan Sri Musa Mohamed for the job.
“What is important now is the candidate chosen must be able to find consensus with everyone and able to connect with all stakeholders in the education scene, ” he said.
Md Shukri Shuib, a senior lecturer of political and international affairs at UUM, said if Mukhriz becomes a Cabinet minister, he could help bring development to Kedah.
“He can do more as a full minister and should be retained as state Pakatan Harapan chief so that he can oversee the state’s development, ” he said.
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