Ministry secretary-general II Prof Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang said Prof Datuk Dr Mohamad Redzuan Othman’s second term as the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences department had ended.
“Nobody asked him to resign. He has completed his two terms as a dean,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Asked if Dr Mohamad Redzuan’s term could be extended, Dr Zaini said it would not be practical as the professor was already bound to retire early next year.
“The ministry had nothing to do with the resignation. It was just a normal process of completing a term,” he said.
Dr Zaini said the ministry was only involved in the appointment of a university’s vice-chancellor and deputy vice-chancellor.
“The rest, including professors and deans, are not in the ministry’s interest,” he said.
Online news portals had reported that the ministry ordered Dr Mohamad Redzuan, who was the UM Centre for Democracy and Elections (UMCedel) director, to resign from his position.
It was also reported that Dr Mohamad Redzuan’s tenure as the faculty dean was not renewed.
Some reports linked the dismissal to the centre’s previous survey findings on Malaysian politics which did not go down well with the university.
In one of the polls conducted by UMCedel, over 60% of respondents preferred Pakatan Rakyat’s manifesto compared to Barisan’s pledges.
Several UM academicians defended the need for academic freedom following news that Dr Mohamad Redzuan had resigned.
UM academic staff association president Dr Azmi Sharom said if it was true that the ministry ordered for him to quit, then it would be “an affront to academic freedom.”
In support of Dr Mohamad Redzuan, former deputy higher education minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah quit as a research fellow at the university.
He made this announcement over his Twitter account, saying that the move was based on the principles of “academic freedom and solidarity”.