Lecturer brings UM, faculty head to court for rejecting her postgraduate studies application

Lecturer brings UM, faculty head to court for rejecting her postgraduate studies application
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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 1): A lecturer from the University of Malaya (UM) was granted leave by the High Court to commence a judicial review against the university and a faculty dean pertaining to the rejection of her postgraduate application under the “Skim Latihan Akademik IPTA” (SLAI).

Associate Professor Dr Prema Sukumaran, whose application to pursue her PhD in King's College London was rejected, named UM and Professor Dr Zamri Radzi (the dean of the Faculty of Dentistry) in her judicial review application.

Dr Prema is seeking a sum of more than RM3.1 million for the rejection of her SLAI application, and a further rejection of her application for CBBPTB (full pay study leave without scholarship) whereby a member of the faculty will be paid his/her salary while he/she pursue further studies.

In her judicial review application sighted by The Edge, Dr Prema contended that Dr Zamri had illegally rejected her applications even though she fulfilled the criteria for both the SLAI and CBBPTB applications.

“He (Dr Zamri) had in fact prematurely decided to block the applicant’s (Dr Prema’s) SLAI application on 05.01.2022 before even having received her application. He did so under the guise that the SLAI was only open for Masters students,” read the document.

Dr Prema claimed that this was not the case, and that the SLAI was also open for PhD candidates.

“Dr Zamri had therefore already made up his mind even before having seen the applicant’s SLAI application and having interviewed her,” it read, adding that there was no factual and legal basis for rejecting her applications.

Dr Prema claimed that Dr Zamri rejected the applications on personal prejudice against her.

“The only inference that can be drawn is that Dr Zamri decided to do so (reject her applications) solely on the basis of the applicant (Dr Prema’s) race,” the judicial review application read.

Dr Prema, through her lawyers, contended that the actions by Dr Zamri and UM are contravention of Articles 5, 8 and 136 of the Federal Constitution and Section 8 of UM’s constitution, all of which prohibit discrimination and/or differential treatment on the basis of race.

She further contended that Dr Zamri and UM acted in bad faith in rendering the rejection decisions for both the SLAI and the CBBPT, and that the decisions were unlawful.

Dr Prema claimed that as a result, she had to spend RM1.46 million for her PhD. She is seeking UM to pay her the sum of RM3,125,827.62, or any other sum as determined by the court.

Judge Datuk Ahmad Kamal Md Shahid, who granted the application to commence the judicial review, fixed Feb 9, 2023 for the next case management.

Dr Prema is represented by law firm Messrs Lavania and Balan Chambers.

Adam Aziz