KUALA LUMPUR: The Education Minister said he was aware that certain academic leaders were playing politics by leaking information to Barisan Nasional politicians.
In response to former higher education minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh’s claims that he had threatened these vice-chancellors in a meeting recently, Dr Maszlee confirmed the meeting but denied issuing any threat.
"It’s strange how he knew about the meeting, unless he got tipped off from certain vice-chancellors who are still in communication with him.
"Are these vice-chancellors working for the Government or the Opposition? That is a big question," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday (Aug 1).
Dr Maszlee said he had offered some of these academic leaders a chance to voluntarily leave, with no further action to be taken against them.
However, he said no one had taken up that offer as yet.
He also warned heads of universities to ensure professionalism and avoid “working for political parties”.
“We have received reports, complete with evidence, of some heads of universities who are still playing politics, while some had been heavily involved in political campaigns in the past.
“Some had also taken disciplinary action against university staff who had not fallen in line with their political agenda at the time,” he said.
It was previously reported that the Ministry had axed five chairmen of universities late last month.
The five affected were Universiti Malaysia Sabah’s Tun Zaki Azmi, Universiti Tun Hussein Onn’s Tan Sri Sufri Mohd Zin, Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin’s Datuk Dr Kamaruddin Hussin, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Tan Sri Noorul Ainur Mohd Noor and Universiti Putra Malaysia’s Tan Sri Anuwar Ali.
More are expected to follow, but Dr Maszlee clarified that the changes were done to spearhead the reform agenda in higher education institutions.
“Not all of those involved were political appointees. Some had their current tenure shortened so they could be promoted to higher positions, and some were transferred to other universities.
“Public universities need a clean slate with fresh faces, which will open them up to some autonomy in determining their own direction,” he said.
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