You are absolutely right. Your co-worker is an idiot. Perhaps you can walk him through the likely fate of such "improvements" when Perl is upgraded or a new machine is built!
I once saw this kind of upgrade performed on Apache::Session. I had found a bug in a contractor's code which could cause deadlocks in Apache::Session. To "fix" the bug the coder removed the locking code from Apache::Session! There's only one word for that - awesome.
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