KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — There are no laws to penalise those with fake degrees including ministers, Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told the Dewan Rakyat today.
In reply to a question by Serdang DAP lawmaker Ong Kian Ming, Shahidan said Parliament must draft new laws for the authorities to take action against those with dubious qualifications but noted that any civil servant found to have faked his qualifications will be sacked immediately.
“If he wants to just hang his degree at home and look at it, for his personal use, what can we do? If we want to take action then we must draft up new laws,” the minister said.
But Ong said the reply by Shahidan was inconsistent as the government had not taken any action against ministers who allegedly faked their qualifications.
“His reply is unsatisfactory and inconsistent. How can no action be taken against people like Riot who himself admitted to having a degree from a well-known degree mill,” he told a press conference later.
Ong had in the past claimed Serian MP and Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem and Ranau MP Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin had received degrees from universities identified as degree mills.
He also claimed Mohammed Emir Mavani Abdullah, the chief executive officer of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd, as having questionable qualifications.
“The government not only appoints him to that post, they also gave him 150,000 FGVH shares worth RM500,000. This show the BN government is not consistent, it penalises civil servants for fake degrees but does not punish the person at a high post in a GLC,“ Ong said.
The MP also claimed Baling MP Datuk Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, who was appointed as chairman of Lembaga Tabung Haji, as another whose qualifications were questionable.
Ong claimed a check on their online profiles from their respective employment websites show their qualifications had been removed.
“Why were they removed when it was just there previously? Is it an admission that they are fake?”
While Riot has denied the allegation, others implicated have remained silent.
During Question Time this morning, Riot again dismissed the accusation.
“I am the elected MP for Serian for six consecutive terms. As a former deputy foreign minister, I have represented Malaysia outside the country and given speeches in English not less than 50 times.
“There is a difference between fake degree and qualifications from unrecognised universities. I worked very hard for it because I believe in life-long learning”, he said.
Ong had previously called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to sack members of his Cabinet found with engineered academic qualifications to prove his commitment to government reform.