UM deputy vice-chancellors removed for being too lenient, pro-opposition, say sources


(TMI) – “There is no room for differences of opinion as being a supporter of Umno is now the main criteria”

The country’s oldest university, Universiti Malaya (UM), is set to lose another renowned academic and re-open the debate on the lack of academic freedom in Malaysian institutions after Putrajaya refused to extend the contract of a bright and upcoming professor, allegedly because he did not support Umno, the ruling Malay party in the federal government, a source has revealed.

Deputy vice-chancellor (academic and international) Professor Dr Mohd Hamdi Abd Shukor, will not be getting an extension on his contract, while another deputy vice-chancellor, Professor Datuk Dr Rohana Yusof, who is in charge of student affairs, is set to be replaced for being too lenient with students, the source from the university said.

Hamdi’s three-year contract as vice-chancellor ended on December 31 last year and he is now an ordinary lecturer at UM’s Faculty of Engineering. However, he is expected to take a sabbatical soon.

“I understand that the Education Ministry did not approve the extension of my contract after my name was submitted by UM,” Hamdi told The Malaysian Insider when contacted.

Three weeks after he vacated the office, UM has yet to appoint a new deputy vice-chancellor in charge of academic affairs.

Meanwhile, Rohana is said to be replaced over recent incidents involving student and academic freedom.

“UM will get a deputy vice chancellor in charge of student affairs who is stricter,” said the source, noting that under Rohana’s watch, students had forced their way past the campus gates on October 27 last year to carry out a banned talk featuring opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Under Rohana, students had also gathered on campus in November last year to protest the disciplinary action taken against eight of their peers who had organised the talk.

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