UiTM banking on staff to maintain standards

To enhance prudent spending RC heads are reminded to continue cost-saving measures and strictly control all expenses, says VC


UNIVERSITI Teknologi Mara (UiTM) is banking on faculty and staff to maintain quality despite a major cut in operational budget for 2021.

The university leadership has warned section heads to manage spending until year-end as “no additional allocation” will be given, according to an internal circular.

The circular, signed by vice chancellor (VC) Prof Emeritus Datuk Dr Mohd Azraai Kassim, said additional funding requests will be subject to the university’s cash position.

“To enhance prudent spending practices, heads of responsibility centres (RCs) are reminded to continue implementing cost-saving measures and strictly control all expenses due to the financial constraints of the university,” Mohd Azraai said in the circular issued on Dec 29.

RCs manage resources for sections of the university.

An official from UiTM declined to comment on whether the reduced government allocation for the university would affect operations and quality.

Under Budget 2021, the government allocated RM1.73 billion from RM1.86 billion in Budget 2020, a reduction of RM129 million.

The government will put up RM1.79 billion for 2021, RM350 million from the university management and a small portion from internal sources.

The circular said priority of spending is focused on emoluments, contract commitment, funding for student activities and other essential services.

The university will trim other “less important” items, including overtime pay, maintenance, part-time/full-time lecturers and travel.

The university also plans to curb one-off expenditure such as asset and furniture procurements, renovation and upgrade, and warned that allocation to one RC may be diverted to other needier RC.

The university also asked its RC heads to identify new income sources to mitigate the funding cut. Some members of faculty said they are facing increased workload as they are expected to take up the slack left by part-time/ full-time lecturers whose contracts will not be renewed in the new semester.

“Lecturers also have to think about how to generate income. They have more work, need to think about making money too, and as key performance indicators are raised, that would drive lecturers crazy,” said one UiTM lecturer who refused to be identified.

The Malaysian Reserve has reached out to UiTM management to comment on the issue.

Mohd Azraai had previously said the university would not terminate part-time lecturers, but that the hiring of such lecturers will be done according to need.

He said the university employs between 400 and 600 part-time lecturers or 5% to 7% of its 8,000 teaching staff nationwide.

Read our earlier report

UiTM: No part-time lecturers will be terminated