Malaysia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya is currently under much criticism regarding his educational background although he has the support of his political party Parti Pribumi Malaysia Bersatu (PPBM), including the son of Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.
Only a few days ago, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Malaysia experienced a spotlight being placed on his academic credentials specifically his Business Administration degree which he allegedly got from the University of Cambridge’s distance-learning programme.
It was a member of the online community who decided to do some digging and discovered that this prestigious university does not offer such degrees. When brought to light, the Deputy Foreign Minister was confident at first to prove that his educational background was legitimate but took it back a day after and confirmed that “there was a misunderstanding” and he graduated from a US-based Cambridge International University and not the University of Cambridge.
To add some more kindle to the fire, it has been revealed that CIU was a diploma mill and released fake degrees for a fee. It also had a fraudulent list of professors and staff whose pictures were screen-grabbed from other sources like online dating sites and merely had a change of identity.
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Mukhriz Mahathir, the Chief Minister or Menteri Besar of Kedah state said that Mr. Marzuki was not given his role as the Deputy Foreign Minister based on his degree or where it came from. In a statement to the Star Online, the son of Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad said, “As far as I know, he never declared that he was supposedly a Cambridge University graduate. That only came out in Wikipedia. For his own knowledge, he attended a course by an American online institution which unfortunately had a similar name. I’m sure he was not picked to be a deputy minister on the supposed merit of his brandishing a Cambridge University degree.”
Why then was Mr. Marzuki confident in saying he could prove that he obtained a degree from the University of Cambridge at the beginning of this controversy?
Tariq Ismail, a member of the PPBM party’s supreme council has spoken up and said that the Deputy Minister will not become the CEO of multinational companies like Goldman Sachs nor will he bring Enron back to life, therefore it is fine. Mr. Tariq went on to say that “All those people who headed those companies had degrees but were crooks who stole. A degree is just a piece of paper that gets you into the workplace. The rest is up to you. Having a dubious degree or not having graduated can be a stigma, but as long as people don’t rape or steal, it is fine.” He added that he would rather be affiliated with Mr. Marzuki because of his humility over those with legitimate degrees from Cambridge. He would even hire more people from the “fake Cambridge” because they are not entitled like those who came from the elite school. “From his humility and hard work, I’d hire the one from fake Cambridge. The real Cambridge, I’d throw them in the river because they think they own the world and the world has to continuously chase them. People should look for dedication and teamwork,” he added.
In case you’re wondering what the future has in store for the diploma mill and whether or not there will be more graduates coming from this “university”, CIU’s website has been hacked as of February 8.
The only question left to ask would be not on the facts but on the integrity of a prominent head of state regarding the whole incident.