Is this transformation when two Ministers with fake degrees are responsible for human development in our country?

It is truly disappointing that on the first day for Ministerial replies in the first parliamentary sitting since the 13th General Election, Malaysians have to accept the reality that Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak has appointed two Ministers with two ‘dodgy’ degrees each from institutions which are degree mills.

The first Minister in question is Richard Riot, formerly the Deputy Foreign Minister and now the Minister for Human Resources (MoHR). According to a previous entry in the website of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, he was listed as having a Bachelor of Business Administration from the Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta in 1994 and a Masters in Business Administration from Preston University in the USA.

Not only could we not find any website belonging to the abovementioned Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta, Preston University is a well-known bogus university as reported by numerous newspaper reports.[1]

The second Minister in question is “Dr” Ewon Ebin, the new Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI). The MoSTI website lists the Minister as having obtained his Doctor in Business Administration (DBA) from Golden State University, Wyoming.[2] Although not stated in the MoSTI website, we were informed that the Minister obtained his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Commonwealth Open University which is based in the British Virgin Islands. Both of these ‘institutions’ are listed down as ‘unathorized schools and invalid degrees’ by the state governments of Oregon and Maine in the United States.[3]

What makes this revelation more ironic is the fact that both Ministers are in charge of ministries where human capital development, proper accreditation, certification and standards are key responsibilities. For example, the Ministry of Human Resources has the responsibility “To revise, update and develop the syllabus of skills training (NOSS), Skills Certification System (MOSQ) and skills standard for implementation.”[4] The Department of Skills Development / Jabatan Pembangunan Kemahiran, which is under the Ministry of Human Resources, has to manage the quality assurance and accreditation of the Malaysian Skills Certification program.[5]

Not only does the MoSTI give out millions of ringgit in grants (ScienceFund, TechnoFund, InnoFund, NanoFund), it is also responsible for the protection and safeguarding of Intellectual Property (IP) rights. One of its agencies, the Departments of Standards Malaysia, is also responsible for the accreditation process for many laboratories across Malaysia.[6]

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.

In February earlier this year, German Education Minister Annette Schavan had to resign because it was discovered that part of her doctoral thesis had been plagiarized.[7] Given the much more serious nature of this discovery, we call upon Prime Minister Najib to immediately ask these two Ministers to resign if he is serious about protecting the integrity and credibility of his Cabinet.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming DAP Election Strategist & MP for Serdang Zairil Khir Johari MP for Bukit Bendera Tan Kok Ping, MP for Stampin