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UM academic resigns after leave rejected-Star

Friday May 13, 2005

UM academic resigns after leave rejected


PETALING JAYA: A senior academic from Universiti Malaya (UM) has been “forced” to resign from the university because his application for a two-year sabbatical to take up a research position at the United Nations has been rejected.

Assoc Prof Dr Terence Gomez from the Faculty of Economics and Administration had been offered the post of project manager for research in Identity, Conflict and Social Cohesion with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) in Geneva.

He will take up the post in the middle of next month.

“I will be starting and leading a comparative worldwide study on the causes of racial conflict. When I told the vice-chancellor about the appointment, his response was very positive and he even told me how to apply for sabbatical leave,” he said when contacted.

However, his application for a two-year sabbatical was subsequently rejected.

“It is hard to leave the university, as I have been here since 1993 but I feel it is an honour to serve the United Nations,” he said, adding that he had submitted his resignation on Monday.

Asked if he would appeal to the university’s board of directors, he said he could not do so as no chairman had been appointed.

It is learnt that the post has not been filled since former chairman of the UM board of directors Tan Sri Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid’s term expired in February.

Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang called on the Higher Education Ministry to act on the matter, saying that Assoc Prof Gomez’s appointment should be regarded as a national honour.

UM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Hashim Yaacob could not be reached for comment.