The appointment of Malaysia’s new education minister as president of the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) recently sparked controversy among academics and civil society organisations, who say there is a conflict of interest between his role as education minister and heading one of the country’s 20-odd public universities. Anil Netto reports.
More than five dozen civil society groups have endorsed a statement against Maszlee Malik’s appointment as the university’s president for a three-year term, which was first made public on 4 September.
Cynthia Gabriel, executive director of the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, also known as the C4 Center, which also endorsed the statement, said the minister “should be uplifting all universities not just IIUM”.
Gabriel noted that Maszlee’s familiarity with the institution would be an unfair advantage for IIUM. “The appointment also goes against [the new ruling coalition’s] pledge that there would not be any political appointments to head universities. He can easily withdraw,” she added.