KUALA LUMPUR: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik is the best man for the post of president of the International Islamic University (IIUM), says The International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT).
It's East and Southeast Asia director and representative Prof Emeritus Datuk Wira Dr Jamil Osman said as someone who was nurtured by the university, Dr Maszlee understands IIUM's philosophy on integration and Islamisation.
"A former IIUM student and lecturer, he is well-suited for the post. As a graduate in Islamic studies, he can strike a good partnership with the new Rector Prof Tan Sri Dzulkifli who has extensive experience in science and research.
“I believe with the two at the helm, it will help to take the university at a higher level,” he added.
Jamil spoke to NST at the sideline of a talk, “Inviting to Islam: Ethics of Engagement” which was co-organised by IIUM, Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) and IIIT here today.
Jamil, who has previously served at the university for about 25 years including as the university’s deputy rector, said that those who had proposed the appointment of Dr Maszlee as IIUM president were those who understand the vision and mission of the university.
He also dismissed suggestions that the appointment of Dr Maszlee was political.
“This is education. We don't politicise education. I do not think the intention of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to put Dr Maszlee here (in IIUM) is political.
“Tun M was the one who initiated the idea of setting up the university, and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was appointed as the first president.
“The idea came from these two people. They want to see the university to be in line with its original vision and mission,” he said.
Jamil also pointed out that several former members of the cabinet had held the position as IIUM president during the time of Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, including former Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim.
“Why is it now under the Pakatan Harapan government, it becomes an issue?” he added.
He said the appointment would also not be a burden financially for the university, as Dr Maszlee had pledged to not accept any payment or perks.
“I’m not sure how much the university will offer for the president post, but the previous presidents were provided with a vehicle, staff and allowances,” he said.
Maszlee's appointment as the university's seventh president, replacing Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim, was met with critisicms from various quarters, who said it goes against the essence of Pakatan Harapan's pre 14th General Election (GE14) manifesto. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd