Main Article Content
Academic governance and leadership are two inter-related concepts that set the tone and direction for the development of higher education at the system as well as institutional levels. This article examines the academic governance and leadership in Malaysian higher education by focusing on two national higher education strategic initiatives: the National Higher Education Strategic Plan 2007-2020 and Malaysia Education Blueprint (Higher Education) 2015-2025. From analysing the two national strategic initiatives, we discuss the ways in which academic governance and leadership have been articulated at the systemic and institutional levels. We find that, centralisation persists despite corporatisation and granting of autonomy status, and leadership has become subjected to external yardsticks of quality, performance and standardised transformation agenda, driven predominantly by the ideology of neoliberalism and New Public Management (NPM). Unpacking these drivers of policy provides a basis for reflecting on the purpose, philosophy and fundamental idea of universities in Malaysia for nation building and societal development.
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