Calling for Syed Razlan to be reinstated, UPM Alumni Association president Datuk Raihan Sharif said they believed Maszlee might have been wrongly advised, leading to this decision on the matter.
“We do not blame the minister, perhaps he made the decision based on incomplete information,” he told reporters at the alumni’s office yesterday.
He also claimed that there was a conspiracy to protect those involved in misconduct of governance in UPM.
Raihan added that Syed Razlan was instructed by the Education Ministry’s governance division on June 20 to investigate the alleged misconduct of three top UPM officials.
“The new board members of UPM’s subsidiary (UPM Holdings) have also detected a level of deplorable governance and possible misconduct in the management of the subsidiary,” he said, claiming that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission had investigated the UPM subsidiary.
He questioned why Syed Razlan’s tenure was shortened while he was in the midst of conducting investigations.
The letter notifying Syed Razlan of his shortened tenure was dated July 17 and signed by Maszlee, who did not give any reason for the dismissal.
Syed Razlan’s term as board chairman was supposed to be for three years until Sept 30, 2021.
On the same date, a letter of appointment was issued to former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Tan Sri Ghauth Jasmon to be UPM’s board chairman.
Raihan said given that Syed Razlan was chosen by the minister himself and his term was shortened after just 10 months without any clear explanation made it look as if the former board chairman was incompetent and had committed a grave wrongdoing that required his immediate termination.Raihan added that they had no problems with Ghauth becoming the next board chairman, but Syed Razlan should be given a fair explanation and a chance to meet the minister to discuss the matter.
“We are not fighting the government; we just want Syed Razlan to be treated fairly,” he said, adding that the association had sent letters to Maszlee and the Prime Minister’s office.
The association, said Raihan, was appealing to the ministry to delay the appointment of a new board chairman until the investigations into alleged misconduct started by Syed Razlan were completed.
On Tuesday, three major staff associations in UPM came out to support Maszlee’s move to shorten the tenure of Syed Razlan.
The UPM General Staff Association, UPM Administrative Association and UPM Academic Officers Association said Syed Razlan’s actions conflicted with the principles of freedom and law.
In a joint statement, they said Syed Razlan had placed the registrar and legal adviser of the university on leave and prevented them from entering their office.
“His actions have also created a hostile environment for university staff and damaged the reputation of the university’s management in the public eye,” they added.
They believed Maszlee had taken into consideration all circumstances in this situation, they added.
The staff associations also congratulated Ghauth on his appointment as the new board chairman which will be effective on Aug 19.
“We hope that everyone can accept this appointment with an open heart and give strong support to the new chairman to lead UPM to greater heights,” they added.