Affirm commitment to academic reforms by rejecting IIUM post, Maszlee told

Sharina Ahmad
Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak) says Education Minister Maszlee Malik must reject his appointment as International Islamic University Malaysia’s (IIUM) president. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 — Maszlee Malik must reject his appointment as International Islamic University Malaysia’s (IIUM) president to put an end to political appointments in public universities, a group said.

Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak) said today it is puzzled and appalled by Maszlee’s appointment, and that this contravened Pakatan Harapan’s commitment to free university management from political appointees.

“Putting a stop to political appointments in public universities is crucial in bringing back academic freedom to Malaysia,” Gerak said in a statement.

“Just a couple of few weeks ago, Dr Maszlee himself terminated the services of five public universities chairmen as they were deemed to be Barisan Nasional’s (BN’s) political appointees.

“There should not be any exception to this policy. No matter how noble you may think the end is, you can't justify the means,” it added.

In defence of Maszlee’s appointment as IIUM President, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, who is the Minister of Education’s special adviser, reportedly said that Maszlee is the right person to bring IIUM back to its international glory.

“We believe Dr Maszlee has the potential to bring all 20 public universities and more than 400 private universities and colleges to international glory, so does that mean he has to first become chairman to all of these universities?” Gerak said in response to Wan Saiful. 

The group said that as education minister, Maszlee should appoint an interim IIUM president.

“This individual would then work together with a variety of internal and external stakeholders to come up with a new search system to appoint the IIUM President and Board members ― and even the university’s senior leadership ― who are non-partisan, professional, reform driven and competent,” Gerak said.

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