Thursday, November 06, 2008

Should Rosmah quit?

Three Pakatan youth leaders representing the three Pakatan parties in power in the Selangor state government have asked for Datin Rosmah Mansor, the wife of soon to be Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak to quit her position as the Chancellor of the University Industry of Selangor (UNISEL). The same Youth leaders have also called for her to be replaced if she doesn't step down. It seems that the Selangor MB, Khalid Ibrahim, will stick with Rosmah as the chancellor of UNISEL, at least for now.

Is this a fair demand on the part of the Pakatan youth leaders in Selangor? They have said that she is 'academically and morally unfit' for the position of the chancellor of UNISEL.

According to the Unisel website, Rosmah obtained a bachelors degree in Anthropology and Sociology in Universiti Malaya. She then enrolled in a post-graduate programme at Louisiana State University, USA and graduated with a Master of Science majoring in Sociology and Agriculture Extension.

First of all, we have to note that the position of a chancellor and of the pro-chancellors are actually honorary positions. They don't actually have responsibilities in running a university. They are largely symbolic positions. For example, the current chancellor of UM is Sultan Azlan Shah of Perak. The current chancellor of Cambridge University is the Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Hence, you don't really need the proper academic requirements to be a chancellor.

As for the question of being 'morally unfit', I'll leave that for our readers to judge.

This being said, I find it difficult to defend Rosmah's appointment as the chancellor of any public university, federal or state. I am generally against active politicians or their spouses being appointed as chancellors or pro-chancellors of any university or college, public or private. There is always the possibility of a conflict of interest and abuse of power on the part of these politicians. I would have less of a problem with retired politicians taking up these positions on the condition that they have to have a record of distinguished public service. Musa Hitam, for example, is someone whom I think would make a decent chancellor. It is very hard to make the argument that Rosmah Mansor has a history of public service that would entitle her to such an appointment.

A final note concerns the administrative structure of UNISEL itself. Unlike the other public universities, it is unclear who the CEO of UNISEL is. Usually, the VC is the de factor chancellor of a university, the person who runs the university. Surprisingly, UNISEL does not have a VC. Its website does not even list a person who holds the equivalent of the VC position. This is very worrying in that any university should have a clearly identifiable CEO, preferably someone with an academic background. The chancellor, Rosmah Mansor in this case, is clearly unqualified to run the university and it is very unlikely that she actually has administrative duties in her position as the chancellor beyond some high level oversight or supervisory role.

If I were dispensing advice, I would ask Rosmah to quite and if she doesn't, the Selangor MB should replace her with someone who is more qualified, perhaps a distinguished retired academic or politician or someone else with a record of distinguished service, perhaps a retired civil servant.


Shawn Tan said...

With the large number of public and private universities in Malaysia today, I doubt that we have enough royalties nor retired public servants to appoint as Chancellors. The good ones are all already taken and the left overs, well...

Anonymous said...

if i look beyond the politics and the fact that Rosmah is the wife of Najib,there's nothing wrong with her holding the post of the Chancellor.

i beg to differ though on the "you don't really need the proper academic requirements to be a chancellor".Sultan Azlan Shah if i'm not mistaken was a graduate from foreign university.i think anyone who entitled to be chancellor should have proper academic foundation.acedemic achievement helps to build reputation of a chancellor.

if Rosmah really abused her power as chancellor,then she should be replaced with someone else that as just as or more qualified than her.but then again Khalid had decided that Rosmah can stick to where she is now so everyone gotta respect that.

Anonymous said...

bangkai gajah walau ditutup sekalipun tidak akan hilang baunya.

begitulah juga dengan hal Rosmah.tak pasti jika dia mahu dipecat atau tidak bagi mengalihkan tumpuan.tapi kalau dia buat begitu pun apa gunanya kerana umum memang telah tahu pun tentang skandal Atlantuya.

jika ada pihak magu Rosmah digugurkan sebanagi Canselor Unisel maka harus sertakan sekali sebab-sebab kukuh dan konkrit kenapa dia harus digugurkan.memang Universitu Selangor milik kerjaan Selangor tapi perlukah hal-hal universiti dipolitikkan.

bukan niat hendak membela Rosmah tapi fikirlah dahulu.lainlah kalau memang Rosmah tak buat kerja atau tak reti buat kerja semasa menjadi Canselor itu memang patutlah dia digugur.

Anonymous said...

Who gives a damn if Rosmah is the Chancellor or not, UNISEL shares the same standard as UiTM - the worst kind of quality.

Just take a look at their advertisement in newspapers, it uses bad English and is full of grammatical errors.

As a Malaysian, I'm truly ashamed of UNISEL!

Anonymous said...

Hello! What is this "UNISEL shares the same standard as UiTM - the worst kind of quality"? UiTM held our standard high, or at least the university is trying hard to hold to the required standard. Just because you didnt like Rosmah or UNISEL, dont even think of dragging UiTM into the issue.