Although I feel that it is premature for Rafiah Salim to be removed as the Vice Chancellor of University of Malaya, politicians (and I include opposition politicians too) should just stay out of the day to day running of University of Malaya. Ghauth Jasmon, unless he performs disastrously, should be given six years to lead University of Malaya. A succession of VCs will only lead to gimmicky and superficial changes.
Jasmon’s task is especially difficult since UM will not be given extra funding like USM because the latter has been named as an apex university. My wish list for Jasmon would be:
(a) continue Rafiah’s policy of requiring all lecturers to publish at least two articles a year in international journals;
(b) sign international student exchange programmes with reputable universities worldwide. In particular, UM could try to forge collaborations with Middle Eastern universities and offer its graduates a gateway into booming cities like Dubai, Abu Dhabi etc;
(c) jointly appoint to faculty positions outstanding Malaysian born academics based abroad like Danny Quah from LSE etc;
(d) forge collaborations and make visiting and joint appointments with faculty members from Singaporean universities. Singapore is just across the causeway and it is time to put aside national pride and learn from our neighbours;
(e) recruit the best staff and students within the confines of the quota system (an oxymoronic suggestion, I know – but I live in hope); and
(f) strengthen alumni connections and leverage on alumni for fundraising purposes. A campaign like “Let’s Keep UM the number one university in Malaysia” could possibly move the alumni to donating to the university.