Abdul Wahid’s appointment based discussion and merit: Maszlee

KUALA LUMPUR: The appointment of corporate figure Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar as the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) Board of Directors' chairman was based on discussion and merit.

Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik said the decision to appoint the former cabinet minister was also made after obtaining the approval of the ministry's highest authority.

“In any matter of appointment decision, we will do it based on discussion and we look at the merit,” he told reporters at the Intenational Islamic University Malaysia (UIAM) in conjunction with its 34th convocation in Gombak, here today.

He was commenting on the statement made by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser Datuk A. Kadir Jasin on his blog, in a posting about Abdul Wahid's appointment.

A. Kadir reportedly said he was “confused” with Maszlee's action in appointing Abdul Wahid, the former chairman of Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), who had been dropped from PNB.

“We respect the views of Kadir Jasin as an influential person … and if you (journalists) dispute (it) because he (Abdul Wahid) was in the past government, many others are also from the previous government.”

On Monday, UKM in a statement, informed that Abdul Wahid's appointment was from Nov 1, 2018 to Oct 31, 2021, as a replacement for Tan Sri Dr Ibrahim Saad.

Asked on the statement by his special officer who reportedly said he (Maszlee) had agreed to resign as International Islamic University Malaysia (UIAM) president, Maszlee said the matter would be announced later.

“I do not think it's appropriate to talk about this now because we are in the midst of facing a meaningful happening, historical event, giving of scroll, you (journalists) want to bring rumours.

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“We will give when we have news, if there is any clarification of this issue we will discuss, my press secretary will invite you all, but not today, because we do not want to be disrespectful to the host as we are facing a marriage but you come asking when you're going to get divorced. That's not the way, that is not ethical,” he said.

Earlier, the media (Harian Metro) quoted his special officer as saying that Maszlee had agreed to resign as UIAM president but it would not take immediate effect as some related issues had to be resolved, including finding a replacement for the post.

Touching on the launch of the University's Production and Verification System (e-Scroll), he said it would be expanded to schools and Private Institutions of Higher Learning (IPTS).

In addition, on the amendments to several provisions of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (AUKU 1071), Maszlee said it would give more freedom to students to be involved with politics as well as be in line with the government's efforts to lower the voting age to 18 years.

“It means students have the freedom to set up (political parties) but they are subject to the university's senate committee's decision, but what is certain is that today these students can have campus elections, they are in the effort of establishing unions and they are involved in university decision-making.

“In fact, we suggest that there are also student representatives participating in the senate meeting. More to the active participation of students,” he added. — Bernama