The Higher Education Ministry has rejected the call for the setting up of a cabinet committee to investigate alleged shortage of intellectuals and experts faced by University of Malaya, the country's oldest university.
Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said such a committee was not needed because the situation at the university was not due to any wrongdoing and could be resolved internally.
"I don't think there is any need for the committee because what the university is doing is what the ministry wants it to do," he told reporters after attending a get-together with students and management of the community college in Bukit Beruang, here last night.
He was responding to the suggestion by the chairman of the Malaysian Malay Consultative Council, Datuk Dr Kamarudin Kachar, for the government to set up the committee to investigate the allegation.
Mohamed Khaled said the ministry had on many occasions explained issues concerning the university, including the claims that 146 members of its academic staff having resigned since 2009 allegedly due to dissatisfaction with the leadership of Vice-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Ghauth Jasmon.
He said during the period, the university lost about 120 academic staff members including due to expiry in contracts and deaths.
Seventy-six of them had resigned, of whom 49 are from the faculty of medicine. Less than 10 of those who resigned are professors.
He said among the reasons for the resignation of medical lecturers was due to the better perks offered by the private sector.
"Doctors who work with the Health Ministry only need to take care of patients but lecturers, on the other hand, need to take care of patients as well as carry out research, write journals and teach.
"However, the pay is the same, so they left for the private sector," he said.
Mohamed Khaled also said that the brain-drain allegation also came about because several lecturers were not satisfied with the issue of promotion because the vice-chancellor had increased the standard, such as by requiring them to write high-impact journals, before they can be considered for promotion.
"This is to spur excellence at UM. If we don't write high-impact journals, we will lose out because other universities like those in Indonesia and Thailand have already done so.
"He (the vice-chancellor) increases the standard; its the same with what the prime minister wants among election candidates, that they must be candidates who can win, that's all; it's not a wrongdoing," he said.