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KUCHING, September 7: The appointment of Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik as International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president was made by Tuanku Sultan Pahang in accordance with the management structure of the university, which is different from other local universities in the country.
Maszlee said the post had traditionally been taken by the Minister of Education, but without any allowance, salary or any other perks.
In fact, being an international institution, it is in IIUM’s constitution for its board members to consist of representatives or ambassadors of participating countries, headed by a representative from the federal government.
“Basically, if I were to accept the post, I would be working for free. However, if non cabinet members were to be appointed, he or she would have to be paid salaries, allowances and other necessary perks.
“So, if I were to take the post, we would be able to save on taxpayers’ money. It would be an extra burden for me because I work for free,” he told reporters after paying a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg here today.
Maszlee’s appointment as IIUM’s president drew flak from various parties. They argued there would be a conflict of interest.
On that, Maszlee explained that while Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was Education Minister in the early 1990s, he was also the president of IIUM. So was Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who was Education Minister between 1995 and 2000.
Even then, he pointed out, nobody questioned it, and some did not even know.
“On the bright side, this shows that many Malaysians nowadays are showing interest in education and even questioned my appointment. To me, this is very good because Malaysians are now aware of the importance of education,” he said. — DayakDaily