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Maszlee resigning as president? News to us, says IIUM

Malaysiakini  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) has denied any knowledge of Education Minister Maszlee Malik's intention to resign as its president and that a replacement was being sought.

The university corporate communications department spokesperson stated that IIUM was never officially informed of the matter, Utusan Online reported yesterday.

This comes a day after an aide to Maszlee confirmed with Malaysiakini that the minister has agreed to resign as president of the university.

"In fact, we do not know from which source the news (that Maszlee was stepping down) was obtained but it was not from us.

"Up to today, we have not been informed of anything, and we only got to know of the rumours concerning this from news portals," the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Yesterday, the minister's aide had stated that while there was no pressure for Maszlee to step down, his resignation would take some time, as it is now the university's convocation week.

The aide told Malaysiakini that Maszlee would leave once he finds a suitable replacement.

Maszlee has been under mounting pressure to resign from IIUM ever since the announcement of his appointment as the institute's seventh president was made in September.

Student groups in particular saw his position as contravening Pakatan Harapan's election manifesto which assured university autonomy, while lawmakers say it is a clear conflict of interest in view of his position as education minister.

Conflict of interest

Maszlee initially refused to relinquish the position, stating that he was appointed IIUM president by Pahang ruler Sultan Ahmad Shah on the advice of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He further dismissed the claim that it went against the manifesto, as IIUM was not bound by the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 (UUCA) because it had its own constitution.

IIUM stood by the appointment as well, saying that Maszlee is well-versed in the university’s inner workings as a former lecturer there, and that he agreed to serve his three-year term without remuneration.

However, Mahathir himself later stated that the appointment would be reviewed, despite earlier defending the appointment as based on merit.

The premier had initially assured that the cabinet would keep Maszlee in check to avoid a conflict of interest.

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