Here's the good stuff. All these are words of course, just words and not yet deeds but one has to start somewhere.
On Her Selection:
Rafiah believes she has been picked partly because of her skills in people management, changing the work culture and reforming organisations.Actually, that's the key reason why she could have been selected to "revive" Universiti Malaya. Clearly, she has not undergone the process of obtaining her doctorate and have only had a brief stint as an academic at the university's law faculty.
“My appointment was timely; it was not by accident, but by design. I was chosen because it was thought that my skills in changing work culture and in managing people would benefit the university."
Clearly, there is indeed a serious need to reform and transform the culture in our academia to encourage a more performance oriented culture, and not one based on the art of flattery. On this count, I believe that it's acceptable for someone without the necessary complete academic experience to become the taskmaster, to "whip" the laggards back into shape, and to ship out the clear out the donkeys from the university.
Hence, on this count, we hope that her reputation to be one tough lady as mentioned by some of the readers here, is indeed true.
...Datuk Rafiah Salim Monday began her task by having meetings with various key officials of the university and pledged for a transparent administration as well as having a closer rapport with deans of all faculties.Transparency is good and we'd love to dearly hear (not too long into the future) from her the type of policies which will promote transparency which she plans to deliver.
...she would try to build greater transparency in the promotion of academic staff “as it is part of good governance.”
On Remuneration for Academicians:
“Brilliant people deserve to be (better) remunerated if we want to keep them here and to attract others into academia. As it is, the attrition rate is going up, especially in the Medical Faculty,” she said.I completely agree on this. The remuneration of academicians needs to be seriously evaluated and probably deserves more blog space here, although as at this point of time, this writer probably doesn't have sufficient information or authority to do so. But I do feel that academics needs to be de-linked from the civil service remuneration programmes.
Well, here's the not-so-pleasing-to-the-ears bit.
... Rafiah said this was the norm for an employee in any organisation. “It is not asking you to do anything bad. It is a code of conduct that you need to be answerable to."I have written some time earlier to debunk the above innocuous statement. If my employees have to sign a letter of offer to comply with the vague, overwhelming and discretionary terms as per the Akujanji pledge, I can assure you that I will lose my best employees. Possibly only the weakest who can't find jobs anywhere else will stay back (I'd like to think that there are very few of those! :)) The worse type of excuse, of course, was when our former Minister of Higher Education alluded the Akujanji pledge to prayers to God.
So on the balance, some positive stuff to look forward to and for the comments on Akujanji, I'd probably give her the benefit of the doubt for having been appointed by the Government, she'd still need to demonstrate the necessary obeisance and reverance to them.
Datuk Rafiah Salim must have been appointed to one of the hottest seats in the country with everyone from the Government, the politicians, the academics and concerned citizens all having the highest of expectations of her, to check the decline of standards at Malaysia's premier university and hopefully restore UM to her former glory.