KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Education Minister Maszlee Malik has agreed to let go of his controversial post as the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) president, one of his aides has confirmed.
In a report by Berita Harian, the aide, who was not named, was quoted saying there was no element of “force” in Maszlee’s decision.
“Surely the Cabinet won’t make a sudden decision without taking into account the university’s interest,” the aide reportedly said.
“There was a discussion, and the agreement was made from it. But the process of resigning is ongoing because he needs the assent of the prime minister and Pahang Sultan.”
Maszlee’s appointment in September received flak from both political divide, but his then special adviser Wan Saiful Wan Jan had said that it was made on the behest of Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah himself, who is the chancellor.
Subsequently, students had staged a sit-in protest in front of the Ministry of Education demanding that Maszlee reject the post. The students also faced Maszlee in a heated meeting where they demanded the resignation of the minister from the post in seven days.
Maszlee had refused, saying he would maintain his appointment with aspirations to turn the institution into the “Oxford of Muslim countries”.
He also said his appointment then was not against Pakatan Harapan’s manifesto, which opposed political appointments in education institutions, noting that it is the norm for the education minister to be appointed so.