Education Ministry: UMT-UniSZA merger will not see reduced number of lecturers

Education Minister Maszlee Malik said with the move, lecturers would be more dynamic and competitive, while students would be just as enthusiastic in seizing the opportunities when looking for jobs. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Education Minister Maszlee Malik said with the move, lecturers would be more dynamic and competitive, while students would be just as enthusiastic in seizing the opportunities when looking for jobs. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA SELANGOR, Sept 12 — The Education Ministry (MOE) has assured that the number of lecturers would not be reduced once the merger between Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Sultan Zainal Abidin University (UniSZA), is finalised.

Its minister Maszlee Malik said with the move, lecturers would be more dynamic and competitive, while students would be just as enthusiastic in seizing the opportunities when looking for jobs.

“Currently the merger of the two universities is in the planning stage. The cabinet has agreed in principle and a working committee has been set up to review and meet with stake holders.

“The purpose of the merger is to establish a university in Terenganu that will serve as an international reference in maritime and in various other fields and to date, UMT and UniSZA have not qualified to become international reference universities.

“We are learning from (universities in) Manchester (England), Australia and the United States where varsities are merged to bring together academics and research (for better outcomes),” he told a press conference after a townhall session where he met students from Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM)  Puncak Alam campus here, today.

The session was attended by about 1,500 UiTM students. Also present were UiTM vice-chancellor Prof Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim and Higher Education director-general Datuk Dr Siti Hamisah Tapsir.

Yesterday, some parties had voiced objections on the merger of the two varsities as it would not only eliminate the identities of both the tertiary institutions but there were concerns that it would involve a reduction in their workforce.

Earlier, the Higher Education director-general’s office had in a statement said the government had agreed in principle with the proposed UMT-UniSZA merger and the agreement was reached at a Cabinet meeting on Sept 4.

The statement said the ministry was very positive about the proposal and was preparing a framework for its implementation.

A special committee is being formed with administrators, lecturers, students and representatives from various agencies and ministries including stakeholders to facilitate the merger which is expected to take six months. — Bernama

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