Former higher education minister slams merger of Terengganu varsities

The government is said to be considering a merger of Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (pic) and Universiti Malaysia Terengganu.

PETALING JAYA: A former minister of higher education has criticised the merger of Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), calling it unprofessional and unnecessary.

Khaled Nordin said the government had failed to present a comprehensive study on the necessity for the merger and how it would affect the management’s efficiency and also students.

He said the absence of such a study made the merger seem reckless and politically motivated.

“This raises question among students, parents, teachers, the management, the industry and the public,” said Khaled.

He also criticised comparisons made with the merger of the University of Manchester and University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, calling it inaccurate as that was a takeover, not a merger.

Khaled Nordin

“Mazlee Malik has to stop making decisions with unclear goals and direction. Education is not a sector to be experimented with,” he added.

The Cabinet had on Sept 4 agreed in principle to merge the two universities in Terengganu. In a statement today, the office of the director-general of higher education said the move would be able to improve the functions of the two universities in line with the higher education blueprint.

A source had told FMT last week that many were unhappy with the proposal, adding that one reason for the merger was to cut down on expenditure.