He was also confident that teachers remember him as someone who helped to lessen their burden of unnecessary clerical work, while parents remember him as someone who abolished exams for lower primary students.
During his stint as education minister, Dr Maszlee was at times in the news for the wrong reasons, such as the debate over his decision to allow students to wear black shoes instead of white shoes. But he said some issues have been politicised.
“Pakatan Harapan and PKR are not perfect and we might have made some mistakes during our 22-month administration, but we didn’t have ample time to correct our wrongs,” he said.
Moving forward, Dr Maszlee wants to see an educated Johor that is known globally and becomes an international player in the economy.
“Johor has all the resources and potential to shape a better future for Malaysia. We are at an advantage as we are located next to the most developed country in the region.
“But rather than just being a recipient from the spillover effect from Singapore, we should become a strategic partner when it comes to industry, technology and education,” he said, claiming that a lack of political will, lack of good governance and lack of vision is holding Johor back.
For Layang-Layang, he hopes to see it becoming a book town like the remote town of Wigton in Scotland.
“Book lovers all over the world go there and Layang-Layang has the potential to do the same,” said Dr Maszlee, who has authored a number of books.
Dr Maszlee has been touted as a potential chief ministerial candidate if PH wins the election, but he said the coalition needs to win by a landslide victory first before a name can be proposed.
He believes that the multi-cornered fights mean votes are split on all sides and that the polls are open game.
“The only thing on my mind now is to win Layang-Layang and Johor, and to give my best for the people.
“We should put the interest of the people first before anything else because this is an unwanted election. It is sheer proof that the current government has no interests in the people’s well-being,” he said.
PERIKATAN NASIONAL: SAHRUDDIN JAMAL
When Dr Sahruddin entered a coffee shop at Kampung Teratai, a rural area in northern Johor, there were only five or six patrons.
The Bersatu politician, who replaced Mr Osman as chief minister in April 2019, was hoping to speak to as many locals as he could on his campaign trail to retain his Bukit Kepong state seat.
As word got around that he was in the area, dozens of folks from across the town came.
Some shook hands, others asked for photographs. A few just wanted to wish him well.
Dr Sahruddin, the former chief minister, greeted them warmly.
The Bersatu man was relatively new to the political scene, having clinched the state seat for the first time during the 2018 general election, but the medical doctor has become a household name in the state after his short stint as chief minister.
“I’m thankful and I feel lucky because many Johoreans recognise me. People from all races would greet and call me Doc,” Dr Sahruddin told CNA in an interview.