PETALING JAYA: The letting go of staff is not isolated to Universiti Malaya alone.
It was previously reported that 156 out of 506 professors, aged between 61 and 70, at public universities did not have their contracts renewed last year, presumably due to budget cuts.
National Council of Professors CEO Prof Datuk Dr Raduan Che Rose expressed concerns that such a trend might affect Malaysian universities’ ability to compete internationally.
“A great majority of our Malaysian professors are 55 years old and above. About 250 will be retiring or retired since middle of last year.
“Some of them have been appointed on contract, some get into private institutions of higher learning and about one-third would ‘disappear’ from the system,” he said in an interview.
This “one-third” is in addition to the 156 professors who were already above the retirement age and who did not have their contracts renewed.
Last year, it was reported that there were 2,254 professors in Malaysia. Of the number, 1,867 were in public universities.
At present, the retirement age for professors is 60.
“Our academics are subjected to terms and conditions of public service, including the retirement age of 60 years. Most professors in Malaysia retire at age 60.
“After that, their contract will depend on their respective institutions. Some would be extended, some are not, subject to their performance and funds available,” Dr Raduan said.
He pointed out that most countries allowed their academics, especially professors, to retire at the age of 65, such as Singapore, Australia and Britain.
“Indonesian professors can work up to 70 years of age.
“In order to compete internationally, the country should find ways to retain our professors to at least up to 65 years old and also attract good foreign professors into our system. We will discuss this further with the Public Service Department,” he said.
Dr Raduan said that the knowledge and experience that these professors gained through their years of service were invaluable.
“It is crucial that they continue to pass it on to students as well as guide younger academics,” he added.