Nizam on UUM board not because he is Maszlee’s aide, says vice-chancellor

Yiswaree Palansamy
Yesterday, IIUM's Academic Staff Association posted a congratulatory message on its official Facebook page to Maszlee on his appointment as IIUM president, triggering a backlash. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 ― An aide to Education Minister Maszlee Malik was appointed onto Universiti Utara Malaysia’s (UUM) board of directors for his role in the institution’s alumni association, UUM’s vice-chancellor Prof Dr Ahmad Bashawir Abdul Ghani said.

Ahmad said there “there must be a mistake” with Mohd Nizam Morad’s designation on UUM’s website, where it was stated that he was the “Political Secretary for the Minister of Education, Malaysia” in the university’s board of directors.

“You must remember, Mohd Nizam was appointed not in his capacity as the political secretary of the minister.

“He was appointed in his capacity as the vice-president of the UUM Alumni Association. He is our alumni actually, so he sits on the board in his capacity as an alumni, not in his capacity as the political secretary to the minister,” Ahmad explained, when contacted by Malay Mail.

Ahmad however said that he would need to check on the timeline of Mohd Nizam’s appointment.

Malay Mail’s check on UUM’s website later found that Mohd Nizam’s designation was changed to “Vice-President 1, UUM Alumni Association.”

Yesterday, the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) Academic Staff Association posted a congratulatory message on its official Facebook page to Maszlee on his appointment as IIUM president, triggering a controversy.

In addition to Maszlee, Mohd Nizam was found to be on the UUM board of directors.

Maszlee’s appointment drew criticism from Umno leaders and even his Pakatan Harapan (PH) allies, such as DAP’s Kampung Tunku assemblyman Lim Yi Wei of DAP, who called it a “clear conflict of interest”.

However, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (PPBM) Rais Hussin defended Maszlee’s appointment.

The PPBM chief strategist acknowledged the ruling coalition had promised autonomy for universities in its GE14 manifesto to prevent political interference, but argued that certain exceptions were allowed, including Maszlee’s appointment.

According to Rais, IIUM was in need of urgent and comprehensive revamp and Maszlee, a former academic, was just the man to undertake the job.

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