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Jakarta Post

Padjajaran University postpones rector election after govt reprimand

  • Arya Dipa

    The Jakarta Post

Bandung   /   Sun, October 28, 2018   /   10:19 am
Padjajaran University postpones rector election after govt reprimand Communications and Information Minister Rudiantara also chairs the board of trustees (MWA) of Bandung-based Padjajaran University. (JP/Viriya P. Singgih)

Padjajaran University’s board of trustees (MWA) has halted the rector election process in Bandung, West Java, following an order from the government.

The decision was taken on Saturday at a board meeting. MWA chairman Rudiantara said a plenary meeting where the board members would have decided on the new rector for the 2019 to 2024 period had been canceled.

“There were some developments during the election process, which we will fix,” he added after the meeting.

Rudiantara, who is also the communications and information minister, said the improved procedure was aimed to uphold good governance at the university.

The university had started the process of selecting a new rector for the 2019 to 2024 period on Sept. 15. The selection committee had shortlisted three candidates to be presented to the MWA, which would decide on the new rector.

The shortlisted candidates are Obsatar Sinaga from the School of Social and Political Sciences who is also the MWA’s deputy chairman, Aldrin Herwany from the School of Economics and Business and Atip Latipulhayat from the School of Law.

Obsatar was accused of domestic violence, prompting Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister Mohamad Nasir to ask the Indonesian Ombudsman to review the process.

The ombudsman found that the selection committee did not have a procedure in place to respond to public complaints about the candidates.  

Rudiantara denied that the suspension of the election process was due to public complaints.

He said the election process could not be restarted from scratch, adding that the eight candidates were still eligible.    

It has been postponed for two weeks.

“The tenure of the current rector ends on April 13. By Jan. 13, we will name the new rector for the 2019 to 2024 period," Rudiantara said. 

This is not the first time that the government has interfered in the election process of rectors at state universities, raising concerns about their independence.

State intervention is permitted under a 2010 Ministerial Regulation that gives the research, technology and higher education minister the equivalent of 35 percent of the vote when a rector is up for election. The other 65 percent are in the hands of the board of trustees.

In 2016, Nasir postponed elections at four state universities, including North Sumatra University, due to maladministration. The ombudsman said it had also received complaints about alleged bribery at seven state universities in Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi. (wit)