All public universities granted autonomous status

The National Defence University of Malaysia was one of the remaining six public universities in the country to receive autonomous status. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: All 20 public universities (UAs) in the country now have autonomous status after receiving their autonomous status letters from the education ministry.

Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), National Defence University of Malaysia (UPNM), Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) joined the 14 other UAs which had already been accorded autonomous status.

In a statement, the ministry said the autonomous status gives power to the university board of directors and university board of governors to make their own decisions.

“The autonomy is a delegation of power to enable universities to move more effectively towards excellence and empower these institutions towards the global level.

“The autonomous status also enables universities to be more flexible in making decisions to determine their direction, including in finance and human resource management,” it said.

It added that while UAs have the power to manage their resources without referring to a central agency, they should adhere to basic principles as autonomy is not absolute and they are still subject to government and ministry policies and strategies.

The UA autonomous programme was introduced in 2012 under the National Higher Education Strategic Plan for a paradigm shift of UAs towards more effective higher education management.

“The delegation of power was conducted in stages as it required negotiations between the education ministry and other central agencies,” the statement said.