Varsity Heads Still Working for BN, Leaking Info to Them

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Academics hail removal of university chairmen as big step.

Vice-chancellors aligned to the BN have been leaking certain information to the opposition party according to Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik.

This comes after former Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh questioned the Education ministry for meeting the vice-chancellors and allegedly threatening them because of their political allegiances to the Barisan Nasional (BN) Party.


The minister at a press conference in Parliament yesterday confirmed the meeting did take place but denied any threats were issued.

“I find it strange how he (Idris Jusoh) knows about the meeting. Surely he got information from certain vice-chancellors who are still in contact with him,” he said.

He questioned whether these vice-chancellors worked for the ministry or for the opposition.

Maszlee, however, clarified that the meeting with the vice-chancellors was to inform them of the direction of the country’s education system under the new government, and told them that if they feel that they can’t carry out the task at hand, then they should resign.

“I did not give them any warning, but I did make an offer for them to resign and said that they would face no action if they feel they cannot carry out the reform and autonomy agenda in bringing change to public universities,” he said.

He added that no one had taken up that offer as yet.

Maszlee pointed out that some of these vice-chancellors had punished their lecturers who did not share the same political ideologies as them.

“They also campaigned for BN in past elections,” he said.


“For these people, I feel that they are not able to implement the reform agenda in public universities,” he said.

It was previously reported that the ministry had axed five chairmen of universities late last month.

The heads of five public universities had their services terminated as part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s bid to remove political appointees of the previous administration.

They were Zaki Azmi from Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Sufri Mohd Zin from Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, Kamaruddin Hussin from Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin, Noorul Ainur Mohd Noor from Universiti Sains Malaysia and Anuwar Ali from Universiti Putra Malaysia.

More are expected to get their marching orders.

Zaharom Nain, chairman of the Malaysian Academic Movement, better known by its Malay acronym Gerak, said in a statement that academics were greatly encouraged by Maszlee’s “decisive action”.

Zaharom said the termination of the five chairmen only marked the beginning and was a “good sign in our joint attempts to reform higher education”.

Gerak has been calling for an end to the politicisation of public universities, and demanding that the new PH government remove political officials “impersonating” as university leaders and “deadwood masquerading as academics”.

Gerak met with Maszlee last month to present its 10-point proposal for academic reforms, and the minister had reportedly assured the group that the “deadwood” would be removed “sooner than later”.

“We in Gerak have been urging and supporting Maszlee in this endeavour and will continue to do so,” Zaharom said.

“We appreciate the legal, cultural, and structural constraints facing Dr Maszlee and do not expect all 10 proposals to be met in a short space of time,” he said.

Zaharom gave Maszlee the assurance that Gerak would stand by him “in his difficult attempts at education reforms and will continue to collaborate with him”.

“This support comes more so because we are aware of self-serving groups and individuals scheming behind the scenes, hoping to see him – and the genuine reform of our country’s education system – fail.”

He said Gerak’s demands did not stop at the replacement of the chairmen with respected, independent-minded, analytical, and accountable leaders.

It also wanted the new government to immediately stop the appointment of deans, deputy deans, directors and deputy directors based on political or personal loyalties.