by: Prem Kumar Panjamorthy
The academic credentials of several prominent figures, including two ministers, were discussed in Parliament on Tuesday with accusations that their post-graduate degrees were fake or given out by unrecognised universities.
Serdang MP (DAP), Dr Ong Kian Ming raised questions over the qualification of Dr Mohammed Emir Mavani Abdullah, the CEO of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH) and Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim — the newly appointed Lembaga Tabung Haji chairman.
He also questioned the validity of the academic credentials of Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot and those of Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin.
“These people have gone so far in the government and corporate world by having these fake degrees, masters and doctorates from well known certificate manufacturers,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat.
Earlier during the questions and answer session, Ong asked the prime minister to state the measures that will be taken to punish persons who use fake degrees or degrees from unrecognised universities.
A quick check by The Malaysian Reserve shows Abdul Azeez is reported to have a degree in Masters of Business Administration from the University of Preston, US, while Mohammed Emir graduated with a Chemistry Degree from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 1987 and obtained his Masters of Engineering Management from Warwick University, UK in 2000.
According to Ong, both Preston University and Warwick University are wellknown degree mills.
“In the case of FGVH, the government not only appointed him (Emir) to that post, they also gave him 150,000 FGVH shares worth RM500,000,” Ong said.
Meanwhile, Riot who was present at the Dewan Rakyat to answer on behalf of the ministry, rebutted Ong’s allegations by explaining the difference between fake degrees and those issued by universities that are not recognised by the Malaysian government.
“I am a MP (Member of Parliament) for the past 23 years or six consecutive terms. As a former deputy foreign minister, I have represented Malaysia outside the country and given speeches abroad in English not less than 50 times.
I worked very hard for my degrees because I believe in life-long learning,” he said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim who was representing Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak to answer Ong’s question, said there was nothing that could be done if the university was not accredited and the person who got it only used it for personal use.
“What can we do, if he just wants to frame it up and hang it in his house? If action is to be taken, then we must draft up new laws. It is similar to fake goods from China, where it says Louis Vuitton, but it is not the original.
“But if the person uses the degrees to apply for jobs in the government or private sector, then there are proper channels where we can take actions against them,” he added.
This article was written by Prem Kumar Panjamorthy and originally published on themalaysianreserve