President Abdulla Yameen has appointed chancellors to the newly established Maldives Islamic University (MIU) as well as the Maldives National University (MNU).
Former MNU chancellor Dr Mohamed Zahir Hussain was appointed the the MIU’s first chancellor while Civil Service Commission (CSC) chairperson Dr Mohamed Latheef was appointed the new MNU chancellor.
President Yameen also appointed Dr Ali Fawaz Shareef as the vice chancellor of the national university.
Zahir Hussain is the chairman of newspaper Haveeru and had served as education minister for 11 years during the 30-year reign of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
He was appointed MNU chancellor in March 2012 following the resignation of former chancellor Dr Musthafa Luthfy in protest against the transfer of presidential power the previous month.
Today’s appointments follow the ratification of a first amendment to the Maldives Islamic University Act on Thursday.
The new law passed in April was due to come into force in August, but the first amendment fast-tracked the process of upgrading the Islamic College of Maldives or Kulliya to a university and required the president to appoint a chancellor.
Kulliya was officially declared an Islamic university on Thursday.
The appointment of a new MNU chancellor meanwhile follows ratification of amendments to the Maldives National University Act last week, which authorised the president to appoint nine members to the 13-member governing council, including the chancellor and the vice chancellor.
The president could previously only appoint the chancellor.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party had warned that the changes will compromise the MNU’s independence and politicise the institution.