Legal Update 15 of 2017

CASE

Tan Sri Nordin bin Kardi & Anor v Abdul Halim bin Mohamed and another appeal [2016] 4 MLJ 709 CA

ISSUE

Is promotion a right?

BRIEF FACTS

 Halim was employed by Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) as a tutor before being appointed and confirmed as a lecturer.

 Halim then applied to further his postgraduate studies (PhD) in the United Kingdom and completed his studies there.

 The Registrar of UUM issued a letter to Halim stating that the Majlis Eksekutif Universiti [MEU] had agreed to recommend him to be promoted if he passed the Kriteria Kecemerlangan Akademik [KKA] and Penilaian Tahap Kecekapan [PTK].

 After the issuance of a Circular in 2007, the registrar communicated the decision of Lembaga Pengarah Universiti that for the promotion, a candidate who holds a PhD must receive an acknowledgement from Ketua Pusat Tanggungjawab.

 Halim then passed the PTK a year later but UUM decided not to promote him.

 He then appealed against the said decision. The registrar informed him that the MEU decided that the he should undergo a period of between six months to a year for reassessment.

 Halim filed an action at the High Court against UUM for a declaration that:

 Halim held the position of senior lecturer since June 2008;

 claim for backdated salary and all other dues since June 2008 until the final payment based on the salary scale of a senior lecturer

 Tuition fees amounting to RM200,000;

 Damages due to stress and pressure.

 The Judicial Commissioner ('the JC') allowed the Halim’s claim in part.

 Hence, these appeals. The board of UUM appealed against the whole decision of the JC while Halim appealed against the JC's decision in dismissing his claim for damages and tuition fees.

DECISION: UUM’s appeal is allowed.

 The registrar's letter did not in any way form a valid contract. It was merely a letter of notification to Halim.

 UUM is governed under the UUM Constitution which provides powers in regard to academic, administrative and service matters. The University also has powers to appoint and promote employees.

 They had every right to issue the Circular which amended the registrar's letter by adding another condition to fulfil.

 Since there was no breach of contract, Halim had no lawful claim.

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