I turned down IIUM presidency to support govt, says Anwar

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International Islamic University Malaysia IIUM

PETALING JAYA, Sept 6 – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is believed to have taken a veiled swipe at the appointment of Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president.

At a ceramah for the Seri Setia state seat by-election last night, the PKR president said that he had been offered the post of IIUM president first but turned it down in order “to support the PH government”, Bernama reported.

“Now, what is important is to give support to the government led by Pakatan Harapan  and helmed by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad,” Anwar was quoted as saying.

The appointment of Maszlee to a private university while being the Education Minister was criticised by quarters from both sides of the political divide.

Deputy Rural Development Minister R Sivarasa, who is from PKR, said the appointment must be reviewed so as to ensure it is in line with the ruling coalition’s manifesto for the general election last May.

“The Pakatan Harapan manifesto promised the restoration of authority and independence of public universities and institutions of higher learning.

“While as an academic, Dr Maszlee holds the right credentials for the post. As the highest-ranked politician in the Education Ministry, holding the highest position in a university is a clear conflict of interest,” Selangor state assemblywoman for Kampung Tunku Lim Yi Wei, who is a state DAP youth leader, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Umno leaders – supreme council member Reezal Merican Naina Merican and vice-president Khaled Nordin – also questioned the appointment stating that the education portfolio should get Maszlee’s full attention without him holding any other posts, more so in a university.

“Why is the minister showing his favour to one university only? And has he got so much free time to take care of the university?” Khaled had said.

Stinks of favoritism

NMT spoke to a representative from another university who complained, “It is very disappointing to hear of this appointment, it stinks of favoritism.

“We requested the minister’s attention on something very significant for our university but the whole ministry didn’t have the time for it. We were gutted, and now we hear this? How can he have so much time for IIUM but not other universities?” said the representative who declined to be named.

-NMT