The Minister of Education, Datuk Najib Tun Razak should invite the Universiti of Malaya staff associations and unions to submit proposals as to the government’s corporatisation plans, particularly with regard to the new salary scheme for the academic and non-academic staff announced by him yesterday with the clear understanding that the government’s proposal is not final but open to further review subject to the representation by the university staff associations and unions.
The Education Minister should keep his promise to the academic staff association that he would discuss the proposed new salary scheme with the academicians before a final decision is made.
It is most suprising that the Najib had made an announcement before meeting the Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Association and it is important that the Education Minister set a good example of participatory democracy by conducting meaningful discussions and consultations with the academic staff associations and unions before a final decision is made. The Ministry of Education should take into serious considerations the unhappiness expressed by the Universiti Malaya staff associations and unions about the new salary scheme, that the highest possible 22.8 per cent increment under the new scheme was lower than the earlier recommended increase and that the salary increase for the non-academic staff does not reflect the rising cost of living.
As there is now a delay in the implementation of the corporatisation of University of Malaya, the six months available should be used not only to finalise the details for the corporatisation of University of Malaya but also for the corporatisation of the other seven public universities as well.
The next six months should be used by the Education Ministry and the various university authorities to enter into discussions with their respective university academic and non-academic staff in all the public institutions to prepare for their corporatisation on January 1, 1998.