KUALA LUMPUR: Maszlee Malik today defended his controversial appointment as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president, saying he has an important mission and rejecting the post would be irresponsible.
The education minister revealed that he had been tasked to return the university back to its past glory.
“My vision is to turn IIUM into the Oxford for Muslims.
“I was appointed for this and to reject it would be irresponsible,” he said, adding that it was the university who appointed him.
The Simpang Renggam MP said this after a two-hour meeting with student activists at a restaurant here.
Maszlee was appointed to the post earlier this month, becoming the third education minister to assume the top post since its establishment more than three decades ago.
Critics, however, said the appointment posed a conflict of interest for the education minister and went against Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto.
Earlier today, PPBM chief strategist Rais Hussin said Maszlee’s appointment was only temporary.
Students not impressed
Maszlee’s explanation today, however, failed to impress the student activists at the meeting.
The Coalition for Academic Freedom-Institute of Higher Learning (GPA-IPT) gave the minister a week to step down from the post.
Its president, Asheeq Ali, warned that activists and undergraduates would hold more protests if Maszlee refused to step down.
Asheeq also said that the meeting today failed to answer many questions.
“It was quite tense and we came to a dead end. So I decided to call off the discussion.”