PETALING JAYA: Maszlee Malik has been appointed as president of the International Islamic University (IIU), becoming the third education minister to assume the top post since its establishment more than three decades ago.
An aide to the minister confirmed his appointment with FMT, although attempts to contact IIU have failed.
Maszlee, a former student and later a lecturer at the university, replaces Rais Yatim as the seventh IIU president.
The post was once held by Anwar Ibrahim who took over from Hussein Onn, the university’s founding president. He was replaced by Najib Razak following his sacking as deputy prime minister in 1998.
Maszlee’s appointment was criticised by a DAP leader who said it was a conflict of interest and against the minister’s pledge not to interfere in the management of institutions of higher learning.
Kampung Tunku assemblyman from Selangor, Lim Yi Wei, said Maszlee should refuse the appointment, and warned against any attempts to defend the appointment on technical loopholes.
“To fail to do so would be failing the students who counted on us to restore academic freedom. To fail to do so would be a slap on the face to the student activists blacklisted, harassed or detained under the UUCA,” she said in a statement, referring to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 heavily criticised by Pakatan Harapan.
Lim also questioned the appointment of Maszlee’s political secretary Mohd Nizam Morad as one of the directors of Universiti Utara Malaysia.
“While details of Nizam’s appointment have not been made public, these two appointments cast doubt on the education ministry’s commitment to academic freedom,” she said.