Education Reform in Malaysia: Unfinished Business amidst Political Flux


About the Seminar

This seminar will deal with three central themes, namely Malaysia’s recent experience with education reforms, the impact of COVID-19 on the education system and the Perikatan Nasional administration’s response, and key inflection points in the country’s political trajectory going forward.

Insofar as the first, the short-lived Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration sought to introduce farreaching reforms in a number of sectors – not least education. Despite often negative coverage, the PH administration was able to introduce significant initiatives. Under Maszlee’s leadership as Minister of Education, these included extensive rebuilding of schools in East Malaysia, reducing the clerical burden on teachers, the ‘Zero Reject Policy’ to ensure no children are left behind, and making Technical and Vocational Education part of the mainstream.

However, following the country’s political reconfiguration in 2020, the Perikatan Nasional administration stopped much of this work. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic placed additional strain on the education system, both due to moving education online and exposing deep inequalities in terms of connectivity and access to information technology. Drawing on his experience as Opposition MP during this period, Maszlee will share his perspective on the steps and missteps taken by Perikatan Nasional.

Then, Maszlee will conclude by evaluating Malaysia’s current political context and key challenges. He will first look at the key issues facing the country, including the state of public institutions and the people’s trust, and then evaluate Pakatan Harapan’s position on these topics, before turning to address key inflection points in the months ahead.

About the Speaker

Dr. Maszlee bin Malik is a Malaysian politician who served as the Minister of Education in the Pakatan Harapan administration under former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad from May 2018 to his resignation in January 2020. He has served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Simpang Renggam since May 2018 and is currently the Chair for the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education. He was a member of Malaysian United Indigenous Party (BERSATU) from March 2018 until May 2020. He was an independent MP until November 2021, when he joined Parti Keadilan Rakyat.


This is a hybrid event which will be held at ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS).

Attending the Event In-person at ISEAS

To join the event in-person at ISEAS, please register via the ISEAS mobile app, available on iOS and Android via the Apple or Play store. Search “ISEAS” to find or scan this QR code.

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Seating capacity is limited. Do register early to avoid disappointment.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.


Jun 07 2022


GMT +8
2:30 pm - 3:45 pm


ISEAS Seminar Room 2 / Webinar