PETALING JAYA: The opposition wants Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya to resign over his dubious “Cambridge degree”, while his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia described the issue as “no big deal”.
MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong questioned Marzuki’s “somersault from the United Kingdom to the United States” on his Cambridge degree fiasco.
“On Feb 5, Marzuki gave us assurance that he would show proof that he is a graduate of Cambridge University in the UK. We are still waiting.
“On Feb 6, we were further surprised when Marzuki’s Wikipedia page was altered many times and the initial information on the Cambridge University qualification was deleted.
“The latest is that he actually has a degree from the Cambridge International University in the United States.
“Why did Marzuki make a somersault from the UK to the US?” Dr Wee said in a Facebook posting yesterday.
The MCA leader also lambasted Pakatan Harapan leaders such as Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik and Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Dr Ong Kian Ming for keeping silent on the matter.
He said in the past, Dr Ong, a UK Cambridge University graduate, used to speak up against Barisan Nasional leaders with alleged fake degrees.
“If Marzuki is dishonest and cannot show proof of the certificate from the UK’s University of Cambridge, as an alumni of that university, then Dr Ong should expose the scam to ensure that justice is done.
“I am also perplexed about why Marzuki has handed the matter to the police to investigate.
“Is there any criminal element involved?
“If Marzuki did not study at the University of Cambridge in the UK, then it is up to the university to make a police report about him using a fake degree in Malaysia,” Dr Wee added.
He also said that if Marzuki’s certificate was found to be fake, Dr Maszlee, who is in charge of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, should also speak up to preserve the academic quality of education in the country.
Umno deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hassan and Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki stepped up the pressure on Marzuki, who is Bersatu secretary-general, demanding that he resign as deputy minister.
“If he has any dignity, he should resign,” said Mohamad.
Dr Asyraf said the issue was not about the Cambridge degree per se.
“It is not about whether a degree is required to be a politician, but it is about integrity.
“How do you (Marzuki) deceive the people with a fake degree and then claim you are fighting against corruption and propagating good governance and ethics?” asked Dr Asyraf.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Abdullah defended his No.2, saying that the issue “has not made Marzuki substantively a lesser deputy minister”.
Bersatu deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir said Marzuki was not chosen as the Deputy Foreign Minister because of the degree.
“As far as I know, he never declared that he was supposedly a Cambridge University graduate. That only came out in Wikipedia.
“For his own knowledge, he attended a course by an American online institution which unfortunately had a similar name.
“I’m sure he was not picked to be a deputy minister on the supposed merit of his brandishing a Cambridge University degree,” said Mukhriz.
Bersatu supreme council member Tariq Ismail said one should not judge Marzuki by his degree.
“From his humility and hard work, I’d hire the one from the fake Cambridge.
“A degree is just a piece of paper that gets you into the workplace. The rest is up to you.
“Having a dubious degree or not having graduated can be a stigma, but as long as people don’t rape or steal, it is fine,” said Tariq.
Bersatu strategist Datuk Dr Rais Hussin sang a different tune, adding that the party should not defend anyone who misrepresented their academic credentials.
“One should have high integrity, as one thing we fought against when it came to Barisan was its leaders’ lack of integrity.
“If it is true that Marzuki misrepresented himself academically, he should apologise and move on.
“It is up to him to decide whether he should resign,’’ added Rais.