Explanation for bankrupt academic’s hiring misses ‘key points’, UiTM told

explanation for bankrupt academic’s hiring misses ‘key points’, uitm told

The former dean of a local university said UiTM must provide more details of the appointment to allow a better assessment of the legitimacy of its decision.

PETALING JAYA: The former dean of a local university has dismissed as inadequate Universiti Teknologi Mara’s explanation for appointing a bankrupt to head its medical faculty’s cardiothoracic department, saying it “missed a few key points”.

On Monday, UiTM said the insolvency department had granted the university “conditional approval” to hire the individual, adding that the academic was engaged for his “experience and expertise”.

However, the former dean, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the terms of the approval were “unclear”.

He said UiTM must provide more details of the approval process and criteria used as this would help in assessing the legitimacy of the decision.

“UiTM did not address why the bankrupt person’s appointment to a senior leadership role was appropriate, given the potential conflicts of interest and the questions about financial propriety it raises,” the former dean told FMT.

He said to justify the academic’s appointment, UiTM should disclose his performance data, including his surgical mortality rate, citation index, high impact academic publications and international awards.

“This would help demonstrate the high merits of the selection.”

The former dean also said UiTM’s delay in admitting to the bankruptcy and its initial defence of the appointment reflected very poorly on the university’s credibility.

“It also suggests a lack of transparency and potentially an attempt to obscure or downplay the issue.”

He suggested that the university’s board strongly consider rescinding the appointment and conducting a new, transparent selection process for the position of head of its cardiothoracic department.

Questions about the academic’s status were raised on social media after he was interviewed by a news portal recently.

A search conducted with the insolvency department confirmed that the academic had been declared bankrupt in 2014, and remained undischarged as of April 25 this year.

Several netizens also claimed they had enrolled in a private medical university started by the same person some 10 years ago, which was later shut down, forcing the government to intervene.

Meanwhile, Johan Ariffin Samad, a member of the G25 group, said under normal circumstances, no bankrupt would be allowed to hold positions in private or public institutions or companies.

The restrictions are an “international norm” and in place for “obvious reasons”, he said. He also described the exception made for the particular person as “strange”.

‘It does not bode well for the institution’s image.

“There will not be any trust for a bankrupt person and their credentials can be questioned at any time.”

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