KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 ― Minister of Education Maszlee Malik has yet to accept his appointment as president of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), which has triggered student protests.
The Simpang Renggam MP said on Friday he would consult Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, among others, before deciding, Borneo Post reported today.
Dr Mahathir was also part of the university's governing board, which also consist of foreign envoys and a royalty, the news portal reported.
“Being an international university, the board members are made up of ambassadors and representatives of other countries and the president’s appointment must also go through the university’s constitutional head who is Sultan Ahmad Shah [of Pahang].
“It’s not easy for me to reject this post too as my appointment was consented to by IIUM constitutional head Sultan Ahmad Shah too.
“One of the things I have to do is that I have to meet him [the sultan] if I were to reject this appointment,” Maszlee was quoted saying.
His appointment sparked protests from students and rights groups campaigning to free campuses from political interference.
Maszlee's appointment came as a surprise since the Pakatan Harapan coalition had pledged to rid political appointments before taking power in the May 9 general election.
Yet Maszlee appeared keen on the post, according to Borneo Post's report.
He said that being president will be good for the university to save cost as his appointment will be without payment.
“Should anyone else instead of me, becomes the president, it would be a waste of taxpayers’ money as they will need to pay his or her salary and allowances.
“With me becoming IIUM president, the university can save up to half a million ringgit.”
Maszlee is not the first minister to hold the position, should he decide to accept the appointment.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Datuk Seri Najib Razak were IIUM presidents during their respective tenures as minister of education.