PAKATAN Harapan wants Dr Maszlee Malik to rethink his decision to stay on as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president, an appointment that has earned the education minister criticism after he promised that varsities would be free from political interference.
A PH source told The Malaysian Insight that the academic-turned-politician has been told to relinquish the IIUM post by higher-ups in his party, Bersatu, as well as the ruling pact.
“The PH council, cabinet and prime minister told him to let it go about a month or so ago.
“The view is that Maszlee should focus on his job as education minister.”
The pact promised to ensure that public universities and institutions of higher learning were independent of politics.
A second PH source, who confirmed that Maszlee has been advised to give up the post, described him as “stubborn”.
“He doesn’t want to give it up because he thinks he can help them.
“We are still monitoring the situation and have not yet resorted to instructing him to give it up. We want him to make the decision himself.”
The appointment was slammed by student activists, including those from IIUM, who demanded that Maszlee resign as president.
However, he has remained adamant about keeping the post, saying his appointment does not breach the PH manifesto.
He said the appointment was by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and with the consent of Pahang’s Sultan Ahmad Shah.
The IIUM board of governors is not bound by the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, thus, the appointment does not break any law, the minister said, adding that the IIUM president has no absolute power over the university.
Following the appointment, IIUM said in a statement Maszlee is the right man for the job as he used to teach at the university and once headed its academic staff’s association.
IIUM also said Maszlee will serve his three terms without pay.
Maszlee, who was in Japan on a working trip with the prime minister, which ended yesterday, could not be reached for comment and did not reply to messages sent by The Malaysian Insight.
Earlier this week, Maszlee’s special adviser, Wan Saiful Wan Jan, resigned as the minister’s aide to focus on his role as National Higher Education Fund Corporation chairman.
the malaysian insight