Education minister sets sights on tackling plagiarism, sexual harassment in universities

Maszlee said efforts are underway to review the Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act 2000 or Act 605 to exclude academics from several rules governing civil servants. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim
Maszlee said efforts are underway to review the Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act 2000 or Act 605 to exclude academics from several rules governing civil servants. — Picture by Mukhriz Hazim

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — Issues of alleged plagiarism and sexual harassment in Malaysia’s tertiary learning institutions will be addressed, Education Minister Maszlee Malik has said.

In an interview with local daily Utusan Malaysia’s weekend edition Mingguan Malaysia, Maszlee said efforts are underway to review the Statutory Bodies (Discipline and Surcharge) Act 2000 or Act 605 to exclude academics from several rules governing civil servants.

Maszlee said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has already given his approval for this.

“This involves issues of academic freedom, integrity and plagiarism that have been much discussed all these while. Kangkung professor, our professors not producing genuine research, abuse of power as supervisors and so on.

“We will overcome these issues when we have carried out a review on Act 605 that is already at the Public Services Department. Tun has already agreed and if this is accepted and carried out, we will try to do a large-scale change in our world of academia. Other than academic freedom, lecturers will also be bound by the issue of integrity,” he was quoted saying in the interview published today.

“We will ensure our lecturers have high levels of integrity and academia. We will eliminate the issue of plagiarism and others. And we will also include the issue of sexual harassment that I know has happened before this, but was hidden and has at last become cancer. So we try to overcome these issues,” he added.

In the same interview with Utusan Malaysia, Maszlee also spoke of hopes for local lecturers and professors to compete at the international level, noting that Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia has been matched with universities abroad such as Peking University and Tsinghua University for collaboration.

He also hoped for local universities to become international educational reference centres and for Malaysia to be an international education destination within the Pakatan Harapan government’s five-year term.

Maszlee also reflected on changes that have already taken place at institutions of higher learning, noting that campus elections are now conducted by university students themselves, unlike in the past.

He said university students have now already received the undergraduate power that they had in the past called for.

“Universiti Malaya in 1974 had its speaker’s corner banned. Today, it has been revived. And also students’ union. We are in the process of forming students’ union. And there are student representatives to the Senate. Today in history. A big decision in Malaysia’s history,” he was quoted saying in the local paper.

Related Articles