Commentary Politics

Sorry Maszlee, this one is on you, not the press

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

January 3, 2020

A commentary by Zaidi Azmi

THAT the press’ penchant for sensationalism was the reason he had to throw in the towel was the theme of Dr Maszlee Malik’s resignation announcement as Education Minister yesterday.

The press, claimed the Simpang Renggam MP, had overlooked his “many significant achievements” but instead zoomed in on a few sensitive gaffes he had done since he was sworn in 20 months ago.

“Unfortunately, they do not make headlines. They were overshadowed by other sensational and sensitive topics that were exaggerated. As a result, I was seen as someone who had caused a lot of crises,” said Maszlee.

Oh my. Another round of media blaming. What an easy way out.

But honestly, even if the media did exaggerate Maszlee’s gaffes surely the PhD holder knew that there’s no smoke without fire…right?

Was it not him who announced the black school shoes directive last year which no one really asked for? Was it not him who triggered the ongoing unnecessary multiracial tension over the Jawi khat policy?

And now he’s crying foul because the press continues to report the unsavoury ripples that had stemmed from his poor decisions.

Furthermore, Maszlee was also wrong when he claimed that his achievements were unreported by the press as a simple search via Google revealed that all actually made the headlines.

For example, the free breakfast programme for all primary schools, the zero-reject policy on disabled children enrolment in government schools, the introduction of civics and ethics lessons in this year’s curriculum and reducing teachers’ administrative burdens were all objectively reported.

So, there was no media blackout on Maszlee.

Perhaps scientists indeed got it right when they discovered that the human brain has an innate tendency to better retain bad memories than good.

And judging from how big of a public dispute his blunders have caused, can anyone really be blamed for not remembering the good deeds that he has done?

One thing for certain; the cause of Maszlee’s resignation was his own doing, not the press’.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at