26 August 2009

V-C: Indian Studies dept stays

The Star

PETALING JAYA: Universiti Malaya vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Ghauth Jasmon has given his assurance to representatives of Indian non-governmental organisations that the Indian Studies department in the university will be maintained.

The NGOs’ coordinator, K. Arumugam, said the vice-chancellor had also indicated the university was in the process of recruiting a person proficient in Tamil to head the department.

A controversy arose after the university replaced department head Dr S. Kumaran, who has retired, with Prof Dr Mohd Raduan Mohd Ariff, the first non-Indian to head the department.

The uproar in the community became louder when there was talk of replacing the Indian Studies department with a South Asian Studies department.

Yesterday, a three-member delegation representing 128 Indian NGOs had a one-hour discussion with Prof Jasmon. They handed over a memorandum asking that an Indian expert be appointed head of the department.

Arumugam said Prof Jasmon had also said the decision on a name change would be made by the academics and the faculty.

“The vice-chancellor has agreed to consider a member of the existing staff to head the department if they can get together and agree among themselves.

“He was very frank and patient. He assured us that his intention was only to make it better and not to destroy the department,” Arumugam said.

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