Ex-Unimas lecturer named in board row says consulting lawyers after report

Aeria was reported as being the central figure in the Education Ministry’s termination of Unimas chairman Sulong Matjeraie last month. — Picture by Sulok Tawie
Aeria was reported as being the central figure in the Education Ministry’s termination of Unimas chairman Sulong Matjeraie last month. — Picture by Sulok Tawie

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 8 — Political scientist Andrew Aeria is evaluating his legal options after being named in a news report as being at the centre of a row between a Sarawak university board and the Education Ministry that is further straining state and federal ties.

The former associate professor at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas) was reported earlier today by news portal The Malaysian Insight as being the central figure in the ministry’s termination of Unimas chairman Sulong Matjeraie last month.

“My only comment at this stage is this, I am consulting my lawyers regarding this article,” he told Malay Mail today when contacted for response.

In a brief text message, Aeria said he was appointed to the Unimas board on September 15 last year for a three-year term.

According to The Malaysian Insight, Aeria was “the root cause of the upheaval in Unimas board of directors”.

Aeria was a former associate professor in the social sciences faculty of the university and it was reported that he retired from the position two years ago.

The article that cited unnamed sources claimed Aeria was seen as pro-Pakatan Harapan and that the state government controlled by the Gabungan Parti Sarawak coalition wanted the political scientist transferred out of the state to another institution in the peninsula.

The article further claimed Putrajaya abruptly terminated Sulong’s contract that still had 15 months till its expiry, for opposing Aeria’s appointment to the Unimas board.

Economist Kamal Mat Salih, chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research, was appointed as the new Unimas chairman, but quit just as suddenly last Monday.

Last Friday, the Sarawak government expressed its displeasure with Sulong’s termination and the appointment of Kamal as replacement without being consulted by Putrajaya.

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