KUALA LUMPUR: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik says he will continue serving as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president despite calls for him to step down within seven days.
"I am looking beyond this seven days. In fact, what I can do for IIUM within this five years is more important and I want to make it the Oxford of Muslim Countries," he said at a press conference after meeting 50 student groups from various universities here.
Dr Maszlee also said he will raise the matter with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the weekly cabinet meeting.
“Once I complete my mission and bring back the glory of IIUM, I will relinquish my position and amend the rules so that no politicians can be appointed as the university’s president."
During the meeting, university students from the Coalition for Academic Freedom-Institute of Higher Learning called for his resignation as IIUM president within a week.
The student group’s leader, Asheeq Ali, said failing which, more students would hold protests as his appointment “contradicted the principle of university autonomy and Pakatan Harapan's policies."
Defending his appointment as IIUM president, Dr Maszlee said the university did not fall under the purview of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (AUKU).
"IIUM does not fall under this act and the board is free to appoint anyone it feels is the best person to hold the position... So, my appointment is not a violation of that law."
Maszlee said the prime minister, the Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, and the IIUM board had full trust in his ability to carry out his duties as IIUM president.
The sultan is the constitutional head of IIUM.
The meeting was scheduled to take place at the Education Ministry in Putrajaya at 6.30pm.
However, it was moved to Restaurant Amjal in Jalan Pantai Baru opposite University Malaya here this evening.
Last week, Asheeq, 23, and Siti Nurizzah Mohamad Tazali, 23, organised a protest against Dr Maszlee's appointment at the Education Ministry in Putrajaya.
Asheeq and Siti Nurizzah were detained by police after refusing to disperse despite several warnings.
Following the incident, Dr Maszlee arranged to meet the student group to listen to their concerns.
Dr Maszlee Malik says he will continue serving as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president despite calls for him to step down within seven days. (NSTP/ASYRAF HAMZAH)
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