Blatantly political appointments of this nature have contributed to the decline of higher education
On 25 July, the Malaysian Academic Movement (Gerak) issued a statement on the crisis of leadership in Malaysian higher education, outlining our despair at – and condemnation of – external political interference in our public universities and the dismissal of guidelines already in place.
We were primarily referring to the widespread practise under this Perikatan Nasional/Barisan Nasional regime over the past year or so, of appointing an uncharacteristically large number of politicians from their ‘cluster’ who are clueless about higher education to positions in the board of directors of various public universities.
Others too have commented critically on this. But perhaps nothing was done to address this because the minister then had not been given a 100-day deadline to show performance beyond promoting TikTok videos and competitions.
Now, however, her new prime minister has issued such a deadline which, incidentally, is fast approaching.
Instead of stepping up to the plate to address the numerous immediate challenges facing higher education – many of which Gerak has highlighted previously, especially in our press statement of 31 August 2021 – the minister once again appears to be quite clueless.
Far from performing for the public universities and the rakyat, she appears to be showboating her ‘abilities’ to please her political master and cluster.
This is quite evident with the appointment of a 26-year-old former political officer of a senior Umno politician to the board of directors of Malaysia’s premier public university, the University of Malaya.
Age should not be a criterion, of course. But knowledge, experience and the ability to contribute to the university should be essential criteria. Looking through his publicly available profile, we find nothing there aside from him being a youth leader in the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) with a Facebook page and an Instagram account.
Yet another political appointee, it would seem. A second politician to add to Rosnah Abd Rashid Shirlin from Umno, who was appointed to the University of Malaya board in May 2020.
This mockery of the role of boards of director of universities must stop. These boards and their members are at the forefront of helping university authorities to grow, to enhance their reputation and to establish links with the wider society – not links with political parties.
We argued in July that blatantly political appointments of this nature have been a tragic tradition in many of our public universities that have contributed to the decline of higher education – and that this nonsense must stop.
We reiterate this stand with this latest political manoeuvring and farcical appointment. – Gerak
Source : ALIRAN
Pakatan Harapan leaders became livid after it was found that the Higher Education Ministry (MOHE) had appointed a 26-year-old man to become a director on the Universiti Malaya (UM) board.
Despite criticism, its minister Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad defended the appointment of Danesh Raj Nagarajan, in view of the Government’s policy to promote youth into leadership roles.
“Danesh was appointed to the post based on his vast experience working with the university alumni,” she told the Dewan Rakyat two days ago.
However, the public took to social media to pan Noraini’s defense of Danesh as the latter lacked proper working experience to hold such an important post.
“Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia (SPRM), KL tolong siasat,” said user Joe Jambul.
FocusM sighted a copy of Danesh’s resume and found that the latter only indicated two working experiences, which are Project Sejahteralah Wargaku director (2020/2021) and The Reveals.com director (2021).
As for his academic credentials, he holds a degree in performing arts from UM and an alumnus of Malaysia Arts School Johor, holding Band 3 for the Malaysian University English Test (MUET).
However, Danesh seems used to be very active in activities organised by UM, among others, being president of the UM Arts Club (KESUMA) and director of Cultural Arts Festival University Malaya Feseni (2015/2016).
Cronyism trumps skills
Unimpressed with the newly-minted director’s credentials, user Uda General said it was convenient for people to use “strong cables” to get positions despite lacking experience.
“Amboi2….sesuka mak bapak diaorg aje duk melantik org…nk lantik tu boleh…tp biarla kena dgn ilmu dan org nya…..masih lg xhilang perangai kroni2 ni….dpt keje pakai kabel….mcm %$%$$ org2 politik ni,”
(Nice. They appoint people into places like it belongs to their family. Even if you want to appoint someone close to you, make sure they have the expertise to do their job. Cronyism still thrives. Damn you politicians!)
Source : FOCUS
I am not a political appointee, says 26-year-old UM director
Newly appointed Universiti Malaya (UM) director Danesh Raj Nagarajan has hit back at criticism surrounding his appointment to the board of directors.
The 26-year-old, who was appointed on Oct 4, cited his strong participation in the UM student body during his time studying there as one of the reasons he felt he was chosen.
“The Higher Education Minister (Noraini Ahmad) wanted someone young to be on the board.
“They needed someone to bridge the gap between the alumni and the students, to understand what is going on in the campus,” Danesh told Malaysiakini.
When he was a student at the university, Danesh was involved in a number of student societies.
He claimed that one of his biggest achievements was organising the country’s first university-based food pantry called Food Pantry Sekretariat Presiden Kolej Universiti Malaya (Send Free Food to Poor Students on Campus).
UM has a board of directors comprising 11 members including former Securities Commission chairperson Zarinah Anwar and deputy director-general of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) Johan Mahmood Merican, who was previously TalentCorp chief executive officer.
The board of directors help with the administration of the country’s oldest university.
Not linked to politics
According to Danesh, his appointment has nothing to do with his boss, Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said. He works as a media officer at her office.
The former Perdana Fellow said Azalina was equally surprised by his appointment to their alma mater’s board of directors.
Yesterday, Azalina’s office also issued a statement denying that the Pengerang MP had pulled strings for Danesh.
Her office said Azalina didn’t know about the appointment until it happened.
“This office wishes to inform that not only Azalina was not involved, the appointment was not even in her knowledge at all. She only learned about it on Oct 5 when UM’s congratulations poster was shared and gone viral via Whatsapp,” it said.
Danesh has also been accused of being a MIC Youth member but he clarified that he only engaged with Putera MIC because of his student activism work while studying at UM.
He said that he did not have any positions in MIC but did some paid work for the party.