Rising concern over choice of ministry official as Sabah varsity deputy VC

Universiti Malaya Sabah in Kota Kinabalu. (Facebook pic)

KOTA KINABALU: Speculation that a senior federal ministry official is set to become the deputy vice-chancellor at Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) has threatened to renew the debate on Pakatan Harapan’s promise to give greater autonomy to public universities.

A source told FMT that a senior official at the energy, science, technology, environment and climate change ministry had been appointed to the post for a three-year term beginning April 1.

The source also claimed the senior official did not go through an interview process.

The alleged appointment was criticised by the UMS academic community, which said the senior official is not a full professor, which is a normal requirement for such a post.

“He does not have the relevant experience at the university level, never held an important post and has no track record of academic achievement.

“It is unfair for the other applicants who have the credentials and the experience needed for the post,” one lecturer told FMT.

It is understood that UMS had shortlisted qualified professors for the post, which was left vacant after the previous deputy VC’s term was cut short.

A copy of a letter of appointment from the education ministry, which it confirmed as genuine, was also shared on social media.

Last year, student activists protested against the appointment of Education Minister Maszlee Malik as president of the International Islamic University Malaysia, saying it was against PH’s manifesto to allow autonomy for universities and to stop political appointees from being involved in university administration affairs.

Maszlee has since quit the post.