The appointment of corporate figure Abdul Wahid Omar as the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) board of directors’ chairperson is based on discussion and merit.
Education Minister Maszlee Malik said the decision to appoint the former cabinet minister was also made after obtaining the approval of the ministry's highest authority.
"In any matter of appointment, we will do it based on discussion and we look at the merit," he told reporters at the International Islamic University Malaysia in conjunction with its 34th convocation in Kuala Lumpur, today.
He was commenting on veteran journalist A Kadir Jasin's statement in his blog about Wahid's appointment.
Kadir, the prime minister's media adviser, reportedly said he was "confused" with Maszlee's action in appointing Wahid, who had been dropped as chairperson of Permodalan Nasional Bhd.
"We respect the views of Kadir as an influential person... and if you (journalists) dispute it because he (Wahid) was in the past government, many others are also from the previous government.
On Monday, UKM in a statement informed that Wahid has been appointed to chair the board of directors from Nov 1, 2018 to Oct 31, 2021, to replace Ibrahim Saad.
Touching on the launch of the University's production and verification system (e-Scroll), Maszlee said it would be expanded to schools and private institutions of higher learning.
On the amendments to several provisions of the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971, Maszlee said the move would give more freedom to students to be involved in politics, besides being in line with the government's efforts to lower the voting age limit to 18.
"It means students have the freedom to set up (political parties), but are subject to the university's senate committee's decision.
"But what is certain is that today these students can have campus elections, establish unions and can be involved in university decision-making.
"In fact, we suggest that student representatives also participate in the senate meeting," he said.