It’s not hard to understand.
Every university staff fancies it. Actually most employed in large bureaucracies rife with rituals and glamour due to cultural imageries associated with the institutions would occasionally imagine themselves being literally, the big man in campus.
Robe, mortar board and flashing lights, while the young adulate and the parents smile in approval.
It’s a self-structured game show:”Who wants to be a university rector?” — ready to be exploited by a TV station.
The CEO of a public listed company has appeal, but a university supremo while with less money is offered class, and class is forever.
So naturally,Maszlee Malik, the ex-IIU employee would be enraptured by the mere mention of him being in charge of his old stomping ground. How can any not be?
Even if you are the education minister, it seems, the allure is intoxicating.
Except, here is the point.
There is the manifesto and there is the idea behind the manifesto.
As an academic, and claiming to be an intellectual beast, Maszlee has the skills, one prays, to comprehend the old BN reality where power was concentrated in the few.
Mahathir Mohamad still grasps for more than he can reach, in a pervasive take on Browning. Well Mahathir is Mahathir.
Maszlee is younger, and he knows Malaysia is more than a limited elite class.
He is not saving IIU money by doubling roles, instead he shortchanges both IIU and the education ministry by splitting his attention.
If the IIU job has little input, and needs no real work conviction or time, first, that means there is something monumentally wrong with the position, and second, it seems IIU pay a lot of money before for someone doing practically nothing.
But more so, IIU or any local institution should not be paying obscene amounts to academics, however high they are inside the hierarchy. They all retire to grand positions in corporations, so the payday will be there.
But back to Maszlee, the man is trying to argue his way through semantics, and lays the blame on those who selected him rather than assume responsibility over the decision he must make. That’s not leadership, that’s something else. Maybe something else is what dominates pribumi after the skeletal of race supremacy is removed.
But Maszlee, it’s a real wake up call, no? All those days of putting out pseudo-liberal quotes with sprinkles of religiosity to tempt a larger population seeking to fill a gap in a modern world, seems a world away, when forced to decide on principle today. To not choose power in order to remain above and beyond a culture of justifying power, is much harder than one thinks.