PETALING JAYA: The appointment of a 26-year-old performing arts graduate into Universiti Malaya’s board of directors has kicked off a controversy.

The announcement was made by UM on Monday (Oct 4), leading to criticism from various quarters, with some alleging that strings were pulled due to Danesh Raj Nagarajan being an aide to Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said.

Azalina has rebuked the allegations in a statement, stating that she herself was unaware of the appointment, until it had been announced.

The appointment of Danesh Raj was also defended by Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Dr Noraini Ahmad in Parliament on Tuesday (Oct 5).

“His appointment is based on his involvement with the university’s alumni. This is the right time to give our trust to the young, especially by seeing their performance as members of the board of directors,” she said.

In a statement on Tursday (Oct 7), the Universiti Malaya Students’ Union (KMUM) said that the UM was not a play for political appointees.

“Firstly, the KMUM are for the idea to empower young leaders. However one important criteria must not be overlooked, which is the competence of the leader in executing the responsibilities given.

“At this time, KMUM fails to see the benefits of the appointment of Mr Danesh to the board of directors. We also question his political involvement, having held youth positions in MIC, and we believe that higher education institutions must be free from any political influence or hold,” they said.

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