Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rafiah describes her treatment by ministry as "sedikit kurang ajar"

Kong See Hoh

Former Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Datuk Rafiah Salim describes the way the Higher Education Ministry treated her as "sedikit kurang ajar" (somewhat disrespectful).

"They seem to regard this (now former) UM vice-chancellor as a criminal! Even employees who make mistakes have their rights, and not to be treated like this," she told China Press in an interview published on its front page today.

Rafiah, the first woman to head a public university in Malaysia, was appointed VC in May 2006 and her contract was extended for six months from May this year.

She said that before her contract was up, she contacted Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, the ministry's secretary-general and director-general requesting them to notify her early if they had no intention to extend her contract.

Rafiah said the secretary-general, Dr Zulkifli A. Hassan, phoned her to say her contract was not extended just before it expired.

There was not even an official notification, she said.

Asked if she deemed the ministry's treatment of her contract unprofessional, she said it was not only unprofessional but also "sedikit kurang ajar".

She disclosed that she only got a letter informing her that her contract was not extended five days (Nov 12) after she wrote a complaint letter to Chief Secretary to the Government, Tan Sri Mohamed Sidek Hassan.

She said although the letter was signed on Oct 31, the VC's office only received the letter on Nov 11 and she was handed the letter the next day.

If the letter was ready on Oct 31, why couldn't it be faxed to her the same day? Why was it sent only several days after the contract expired and after she had complained, she asked.

"What is amusing is that Khaled Nordin said he was satisfied with my contributions, but his assistant insulted me in the Parliament."

Rafiah, who has earlier demanded an explanation and public apology from Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Idris Haron for questioning her performance as head of the university in Parliament, challenged him to repeat his "insulting" remarks about her outside the parliament if he did not want to apologise, so that she could take the necessary action.

Idris has to bear responsibility for what he had said as all that was recorded in the Hansard.

"I don't want to see that, some years later, when my grandchildren go through the Hansard while doing their research, they get the wrong impression that their grandma, the first woman VC of UM, was given the boot because of poor performance," she added.

Updated: 05:30PM Thu, 20 Nov 2008

BERITADARIGUNUNG: But who is Idris Haron? Not about his ministerial post, but more about him as a person, a politician and his political tendencies and likings. I saw a photo of him squeezing in for a group photo with their white uniforms with Khairy. Idris think highly for himself? Idris needs more than a personal tution on politics, reality and stupidity.