KUALA LUMPUR: The Government is looking to abolish the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) in the next five years, as promised in the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, says Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching.
She said on Wednesday (August 1) that the Ministry had taken steps to set up a 12-man committee from various backgrounds to review the UUCA.
"But it's not just about abolishing the UUCA. There is also a need to replace it with a new act, so we need some time for the consultation process with the relevant stakeholders.
"As a short-term measure, the provision related to students and politics in campus will be repealed to give them more room," she said to a supplementary question by Mohd Shahar Abdullah (BN-Paya Besar) who asked for a time frame to abolish the Act.
Teo said once this was done, politicians from Pakatan and Barisan Nasional could enter campuses without any obstacles to share their views and for intellectual purposes, but not on political issues.
To another question by Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (BN-Besut), who asked if Dr Maszlee had met up with and threatened vice-chancellors and deputy vice-chancellors to support the Pakatan Government, Teo said only that Dr Maszlee Malik had indeed met the vice-chancellors and deputy-vice chancellors of public universities.
She said she did not attend the meeting.
Idris also asked if chairmen of public universities were removed from office to increase the autonomy of the institutions.
To this, Teo said these were political appointments during Barisan's regime.
"Now, we are entering a new era, and we have a new Malaysia, so we want to have new leadership with fresh ideas. What's wrong with that?" she asked.
To another question on whether action would be taken against some political appointees from the previous Barisan government who had not stepped down, Teo said the Ministry was in the process of reviewing the background of all board members of universities.
"There are a few factors we want to take into consideration such as their expertise, their political affiliations and their contributions to the varsities.
"I don't believe we have set a time period for them to resign, but vice chancellors and political appointees have been told to resign.
"If they don't do so, then it is fine but we may from time to time shorten their services," she added.