DAP today flayed Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for allowing two Barisan Nasional ministers with “fake degrees” to sit in on the first day of ministerial replies in parliament.
DAP leaders Ong Kiang Ming, Zairil Khir Johari and Julian Tan Kok Ping called for Najib to immediately ask for the resignation of the Human Resources minister Richard Riot, and the Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Dr Ewon Ebin.
According to Ong, Ewon’s alma maters, the Golden State University in Wyoming and the Commonwealth Open University in the British Virgin Islands, are listed as ‘unauthorised schools and invalid degrees’ by the Oregon and Maine state governments.
Meanwhile, Ong, who is Serdang MP and DAP election strategist, said he was unable to find any website belonging to the Chartered Institute of Business Administration, which is where Riot received his Bachelor of Administration.
Riot also has a Masters in Business Administration from Preston University – a well-known bogus university, according to media reports.
“This is a huge scandal because on Monday, we swore that we would carry out our responsibilities with honesty. But these two ministers each have two fake degrees. So how honest are they?” said Bukit Bendera MP Zairil.
Ong said it was extremely ironic that these two BN leaders were in charge of ministries dealing with human capital development, proper accreditation, certification and standards.
“For example, the Human Resources ministry (MoHR) has the responsibility to ‘revise, update and develop the syllabus of skills training, skills certification system and skills standard for implementation’,” he said, quoting the MoHR website.
“The Department of Skills Development, which is under MoHR, has to manage the quality assurance and accreditation of the Malaysian Skills Certification programme,” he added.
The ministry which Ewon heads, on the other hand, gives out millions in grants and is responsible for protecting and safeguarding Intellectual Property rights, he said.
Ong also pointed out that the Departments of Standards Malaysia, an agency under the ministry for Science, Technology and Innovation, dealt with the accreditation process for many laboratories nationwide.
“Therefore, to entrust two ministers with fake degrees with the serious responsibilities of human capital development and the management of certifications and standards is not only a gross embarrassment but also most ironic for a prime minister who has made transformation his clarion call,” said Ong.
‘I studied in University of Hertfordshire’
But in a separate press conference, Riot, a former deputy foreign minister, told reporters he “strongly rebutted” what the DAP leaders had said.
“I received my Degree and Masters from the University of Hertfordshire, London, not as mentioned here,” he said, indicating the press statement circulated by Ong earlier today.
“I don’t know where they got the information (that I have degrees from Preston University and the Chartered Institute of Business Administration). It is not true,” he stressed.
But when reporters pointed out that Ong had referred to the Foreign Ministry’s website to obtain his credentials, Riot said this was “immaterial”.
Riot also did not provide any academic transcripts to substantiate his claim. Instead, he said he would get his lawyers to handle the issue.