My application for Marzuki’s job at the Foreign Ministry

  • Why You Like That Wan
  • Friday, 08 Feb 2019

Wisma Putra,

1 Jalan Wisma Putra, Presint 2

62100 Putrajaya,

Wilayah Persekutuan Putrajaya

Menara Star,

15 Jalan 16/11

46350 Petaling Jaya


To whom it may concern,

Re: Application for job as Deputy Foreign Minister

I am Nicholas Cheng a 28-year-old, healthy man who has yet to be bankrupted, and holds a tertiary education. My Bachelors degree is in media and my Masters degree is in international conflict resolution.

These degrees are from accredited private foreign universities that actually show up on the first page on a Google search, and whose professors aren’t stock photo models.

I am also not a rapist nor a corrupt man who has swindled millions of ringgit, as far as PDRM (the Royal Malaysia Police) knows.

Therefore, by the definition laid out by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, I am more than qualified than the current occupier of the Deputy Foreign Minister position.

Datuk Marzuki Yahya, the Bersatu secretary-general, has come under fire this week, after Barisan Nasional-linked personalities highlighted that his supposed credentials of being an alumnus of Cambridge University was bogus.

Marzuki, who like myself, has yet to garner any parliamentary experience – though I must point out I have yet to lose an election like he did – first brushed off these allegations, claiming that he had indeed completed a distance learning course with Cambridge University and had proof of it.

“I regard this as a political game,” said Marzuki, in a public statement to reporters that he will likely now claim was a terrible collective misquote by several media outlets.

But a day later, Marzuki, who is so inept at politics (he lost his election bid to a man who once said that it was okay for rapists to marry the women they raped and that nine-year-olds are eligible for marriage) claimed he was “misunderstood” and that his glowing credentials was actually the product of a degree mill called Cambridge International University – a fine institution of which notable alumni include “Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister for less than six months” and “European dating site model.”

While Umno leaders are calling for red-faced Marzuki’s resignation over this kerfuffle, Bersatu members are standing behind their Cambridge-ish-educated man, saying that at the very least, he has not stolen or raped.

Yes indeed, these are shining qualities everyone should look for in a person that will represent the Ministry and country in the delicate world of diplomacy.

But I would hope Wisma Putra has more stringent criteria for its No 2 post, that hopefully will not include 99% of the country in its potential hiring pool. The poor HR manager would reach retirement before all of us can be properly interviewed.

Bersatu then argued that having a degree from a top university isn’t an indicator of a person’s ability to work nor his or her moral conduct.

Which, by all accounts, is true.

And moreover, it’s not like Marzuki ever declared that he was a real Cambridge University alumnus, said Bersatu – the party that is currently the face of the country’s political landscape. The Cambridge claim came from Wikipedia, which is editable by anyone.

Except that the government which Marzuki works for itself had made that claim on July 19, 2018 in a Bernama press release announcing Marzuki’s appointment as senator, which read:

“He received his early education at SK and SMK St Mark in Butterworth, before pursuing a Bachelor's degree in business administration, majoring in logistics via a long-distance learning programme at the University of Cambridge.”

That didn’t come from misquote-trigger-happy reporters or a Wikipedia sleuth, that came from the government and Marzuki’s office.

Which means, not only was there an attempt to pass off Marzuki as being from a top tier university, the fact that Marzuki didn’t say anything about the false information raises questions about his own moral conduct.

That, and also how his experience in logistics and SPM credentials make him fit to lead the country’s diplomatic corps? Even low-level Wisma Putra employees need to sit for a PTD exam for civil servants.

All this nonsense is causing a significant strain on Wisma Putra and the Ministry’s ability to perform its missions overseas, whilst maintaining an air of credibility and trustworthiness when entering into negotiations with other countries.

The Ministry is going to need a hard worker, a team player and a diligent negotiator.

And also someone who doesn’t rape or steal, and has actually been to the university they said they did.

I am none of the first three things But I am definitely the last three parts. Hire me!

Because almost anyone is a better fit for the job than that fellow you currently have.

Yang benar,


Nicholas Cheng is a former Malaysian journalist. He was a US Daniel Pearl media fellow and a Chevening scholar. He aims to write about what young people think about 'New Malaysia'. He can be reached at:

Twitter: @nichocheng

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