Home Web Specials It’s not just a matter of degree, Bersatu

It’s not just a matter of degree, Bersatu

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The Marzuki incident has grabbed headlines worldwide, especially given that as deputy foreign minister, he represents the country in the global arena, writes Mustafa K Anuar.

In defence of Bersatu’s Marzuki Yahya, who recently received flak over his academic degree imbroglio, the party’s supreme council member, Tariq Ismail, implied that faking one’s academic qualifications is not as serious as committing theft or rape.

While the gravity of such misdeeds indeed varies in degree, it remains unethical to misrepresent one’s academic background to the public, especially when the individual implicated holds public office. Marzuki, to be sure, is the deputy foreign minister.

Professional integrity is of utmost importance; it even overrides one’s academic credentials. After all, what matters at the end of the day is the professional competence and rectitude of an individual.

Pakatan Harapan was voted into power by Malaysians who have higher standards for the pact than its predecessor, Barisan Nasional. This was mainly because the electorate wanted real change in Malaysia.

Thus, excusing Marzuki from such a misdemeanour is a throwback to the BN days of less transparency and accountability. It does not provide a good example to other politicians and concerned Malaysians because academic irregularities are not something you simply sweep under the proverbial rug.

Furthermore, taking shortcuts in anyacademic endeavour should not be rewarded because there are no shortcuts to academic success.

It is already bad enough for someone to be associated with a dubious entity called Cambridge International University (CIU), which apparently attempts to profit from the good standing of the world-renowned Cambridge University. This is apart from CIU parading pictures on its website (before it got hacked) of supposed faculty members seemingly culled from an online dating site or fashion photo shoots.

Equally troubling is the act of knowingly signing up with a suspicious establishment that easily rolls out diplomas and degrees for a fee – without much or any academic input from paying “students”.

Imitation, it is said, is the highest form of flattery. But, this flattery has not only benefited the imitator (ie CIU), but also has the effect of smudging the reputation of Cambridge University through the antics of the diploma mill’s “graduates”.

Academic dishonesty is much frowned upon, nay, condemned, at established universities that jealously guard their reputation. This is why academics are sacked and students thrown out if they are found to be involved in academic fraud, such as plagiarism.

Similarly, politicians of dubious academic achievements – at least elsewhere in the world – have tendered their resignations to salvage their dignity and the reputation of the parties they represent.

In Spain last year, for instance, then Health Minister Carmen Monton resigned due to discrepancies in her master’s degree work, including plagiarism.

Top South African politician and anti-apartheid activist Pallo Jordan resigned as MP in 2014 after the authorities found that his academic qualifications were fake. He did not have a doctorate as claimed. Jordan eventually apologised for “deceiving the government and the people of South Africa for many years”.

The Marzuki incident has grabbed headlines worldwide, especially given the fact that as deputy foreign minister, his face and position represent the country in the global arena. The Bersatu secretary-general will have to answer to his conscience, and subsequently, do what he thinks is right.

Source: themalaysianinsight.com

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Dr Mustafa K Anuar, a longtime executive committee member and former honorary secretary of Aliran, is, co-editor of our newsletter. He obtained his PhD from City, University of London and is particularly interested in press freedom and freedom of expression issues. These days, he is a a senior journalist with an online media portal
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Nair
Nair
18 Feb 2019 7.29pm

A lie is a Lie. A cheat is a Cheat.
Shameless leaders. What to respect?????
Talk about Fake News n now Fake Degree.
Next Fake PH.

simee khor
simee khor
17 Feb 2019 6.48pm

a concise & precise essay well researched & well argued – brilliant

simee khor
simee khor
17 Feb 2019 6.53pm
Reply to  simee khor

I was awarded a seameo- RELC scholarship- due to unfortunate severe illness of my child I couldn’t fulfil attendance % & I was not allowed to vote this award!!- so how severe s a fake degree???

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