MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Stop political appointments, think of public universities' integrity - Harapan

The integrity and image of public universities will deteriorate if political appointments without merit continue to be allowed in these tertiary education institutions, said the Pakatan Harapan education committee.

“The distribution of positions in public universities to Perikatan Nasional (PN) representatives without basing it on merit will only cause the image and integrity of public universities to worsen, whether locally or internationally.

“This situation also answers the question of why the Higher Education Ministry is not being progressive and innovative in developing solutions at the higher education level in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” the committee said in a statement today.

Previously, checks by Malaysiakini had shown that at least 13 individuals linked to the PN government had been given positions in public universities.

The committee also questioned why the practice of appointing professionals onto the board of directors of public universities, as was done during Harapan’s administration, has been abandoned.

Many of the apolitical academic and corporate professionals appointed during Harapan’s administration, it said, were replaced by individuals linked to the PN government. 

The qualifications of these new appointees are far too low compared to those they replaced, the committee added.

“The higher education minister should refer to the National Education Blueprint 2015-2025 (Higher Education) which outlines the need to appoint a board of directors according to their set capabilities and skillsets so that they can lead the public universities to greater success.

“Appointments based on political membership only will interfere with the development of universities,” it said.

Based on its own checks, the committee said there are actually more than 13 political appointees who were given positions in public universities.

As such, the committee urged the Higher Education Ministry to review the appointments of these individuals linked to the PN government, in order to maintain the credibility of the country’s education.

The statement was jointly signed by former education minister and Simpang Renggam MP Maszlee Malik, former education deputy minister and Kulai MP Teo Nie Ching, Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, Tampin MP Hasan Baharom, Sekijang MP Natrah Ismail, Bukit Mertajam MP Steven Sim and Tangga Batu MP Rusnah Aluai.

Former UiTM vice-chancellor Ibrahim Shah Abu Shah

In a separate joint statement, 20 Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) alumni associations said they fully support the appointments of Ibrahim Shah Abu Shah and Mohd Sazili Shahibi for positions in their alma mater.

Ibrahim Shah, who is the Umno education bureau chairperson, was appointed as the UiTM board of director’s chairperson. 

Mohd Sazili, who is the Selayang Umno Youth vice-chief, was appointed as the UiTM deputy vice-chancellor in charge of student affairs.

“UiTM alumni always support every appointment from the Higher Education Ministry for individuals who are qualified and have experience, especially if they are from our own people (who has) UiTM DNA.

“The issue and question of whether they are members of any political parties are no longer relevant to us at this time.

“We are very proud of our political leaders from Umno, PAS, PKR, Bersatu, Amanah, Warisan, GPS and other parties with UiTM alumni,” they said.

Ibrahim Shah, they said, had worked at UiTM and Institut Teknologi Mara (ITM) for 25 years. He was also the longest-serving UiTM vice-chancellor, from 2001 to 2009.

“This former vice-chancellor certainly has broad experience which qualifies him to lead the UiTM board of directors as the chairperson,” they added.

Meanwhile, Mohd Sazili is a recipient of the Asia Education Leadership Award by CMO Asia and World Education Congress in 2018.

He also holds positions in a variety of organisations and agencies, including as a member of the board of advisors of the National Archive and as a board member of the Malacca Public Library Corporation, they added.

"UiTM alumni are confident that the two of them have full qualifications and will be able to carry UiTM to greater success, in line with the aspirations for higher education in Malaysia." - Mkini

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