KUALA LUMPUR – March 9, 2017: Officials from several public universities today denied a claim that they had terminated or discontinued the contracts of some lecturers due to budget cuts by the higher education ministry.
Those who spoke to The Mole instead said that the terminations were mostly due to the failure of lecturers to meet targets under the Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
Malaysian Academic Association Congress (MAAC) president Professor Datuk Dr. Mohd. Idrus Mohd. Masirin had claimed that about 6,000 lecturers have had their contracts terminated since 2012.
He further claimed that budget cuts of between 30 and 40 per cent last year had forced universities to retrench the lecturers.
In a press release on Tuesday, the ministry clarified that only 2,000 lecturers were dismissed in the past five years, mainly due to being substandard.
But the claims by Idrus continue to be circulated by anti-establishment bloggers and in social media.
A human resources officer of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak also said the university has not retrenched its staff due to insufficient funds.
“As of now, we have not experienced any (sudden retrenchment). In fact, we cannot simply dismiss our staff as we are bound by the decision of the public services department. There’s no retrenchment directive from them,” the officer said.
Dr. Faisal S. Hazis of Institute of Malaysian and International Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, agrees that staff are dismissed due to their performance, not budget cuts.
He said some lecturers were terminated because they did not fulfill some of their KPI, such as finishing their PHDs or publish certain numbers of academic publications.
Corporate communications officer Firdaus Hanan of Universiti Teknologi Mara said that new intake of lecturers has balanced out any termination of contracts.
“There are over 32,000 lecturers in public universities. When the MAAC mentioned the dismissal of thousands of lecturers, it did not mention these latest intakes so it’s a one-sided statement,” remarked Firdaus.