There's apparently a lot of confusion over replacing the air filter element. I'm sure short-cuts can be taken to get to it depending on one's patience and dexterity but:
1. Disconnect the MAF/IAT Connector (1) from the MAF/IAT sensor (also see thread http://www.chevymalibuforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6183
2. Loosen the air cleaner outlet duct clamp at the air cleaner assembly.
3. Remove the air cleaner outlet duct from the air cleaner cover.
4. Disengage the air cleaner cover latches (1, 4th image).
5. Open the air cleaner cover.
6. Remove and discard the air filter element (2, 4th image).
Tighten clamp to 4 N·m (35 lb in).
2.4L MAF/IAT Connector (1):
3.5L MAF/IAT Connector (1):
3.6L MAF/IAT Connector:
Air Filter Element (2):