All public universities have granted autonomous status

The National Defense University of Malaysia was one of the other six public universities in the country that received autonomous status. (Bernama photo)

KUALA LUMPUR: All 20 public universities (UAs) in the country now have an autonomous status after receiving their autonomous status letters from the Ministry of Education.

Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), National Defense University of Malaysia (UPNM), Universiti Perguruan Sultan Idris (UPSI), Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) join the 14 other UAs that have already received an autonomous status.

In a statement, the ministry said that the autonomous status empowers the university board and the university board to make its own decisions.

"The autonomy is a delegation of powers to enable universities to work more effectively towards excellence and to make these institutions more empowered.

"The autonomous status also allows universities to be more flexible in making decisions to determine their direction, including in finance and personnel management," it said.

It added that although UAs have the power to manage their resources without referring to a central agency, they have to abide by basic principles because autonomy is not absolute and they are still subject to government and ministry policies and strategies.

The autonomous program of the UA was introduced in 2012 as part of the National Strategic Plan for Higher Education for a paradigm shift from UAs to a more effective higher education management.

"The power delegation was phased out because negotiations were needed between the Ministry of Education and other central agencies," the statement said.

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