PETALING JAYA: Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik has agreed to step down from his position as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president.
A source from the ministry confirmed that the former IIUM lecturer will be giving up his post soon after the university’s convocation that starts today.
“The Cabinet discussed this matter with him a few weeks ago and Dr Maszlee said he is willing to give up the post,” the officer told The Star. “He was willing to listen and take their advice.”
On reports that the former academic was “pressured” into stepping down by the Cabinet and Pakatan Harapan, the source said it was not true.
“He is doing it willingly after listening to the Cabinet’s advice,” said the officer.
The source said the minister would step down after he had carried out his plans to reform the university and pending the appointment of a suitable replacement.
“It (official stepping down) will be as soon as possible,” said the officer, adding the process to find a replacement starts next week.
The Simpang Renggam MP took over the Education Ministry on May 21 and became the seventh president of IIUM on Sept 5.
Student groups had staged protests upon his appointment as president, which is seen as the minister going against his promise to not have any politicians heading academic institutions.
The university, however, defended the appointment, with IIUM constitutional head Sultan Ahmad Shah consenting to the appointment, which would see Dr Maszlee holding the position for three years.
The Pakatan election manifesto had promised to restore academic freedom at institutions of higher learning.