KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 8 ― A DAP leader today urged the Pakatan Harapan government not to sweep Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya’s admission on his “Cambridge” degree under the carpet.
DAP political education assistant national director, Ong Kian Ming, who is Bangi MP, said in a statement that ignoring the issue is what the previous Barisan Nasional administration would have done.
“We have to hold ourselves up to higher standards of public accountability and transparency. If not, we would be seen as being no different as the previous BN administration,” he said.
Ong did not name Marzuki in his statement, referring to him only as “a deputy minister from Pakatan Harapan.”
On Wednesday, Marzuki, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia secretary-general, admitted that he did not attend University of Cambridge, despite previously claiming he had taken a long-distance course for a Bachelor of Business Administration degree there.
In a report by Malaysiakini, Marzuki said his degree in business administration is from the United States-based Cambridge International University ― an institution whose reputation has been questioned.
Ong, who is also International Trade and Industry deputy minister, said he believed an effective politician does not need to have a degree as long as he is willing to work hard, go down to the ground and be able to build a good team.
“The reason for the public outcry over such cases is not because a politician does not have a degree. It is that the public was misled with regards to his or her academic qualifications,” he said.
Maintaining that it was unacceptable for politicians to buy degrees from degree mills and then try to pass them off as genuine, he said the accusations against the deputy minister was serious and that his party should carry out a proper investigation.
“The party can call in education experts to verify whether or not the degree is from a degree mill. And if this is indeed the case, his party can take disciplinary action as the leadership sees fit,” said Ong.
“Or perhaps the deputy minister in question feels it is appropriate to make a public confession. He may have obtained that degree at a time when he felt having such a degree would help him in his corporate career. Or there could have been financial reasons as to why he was not able to pursue a post-secondary education when he was younger.”
He said the deputy minister should ask Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad if he still has confidence in him to serve in his government.