FOR most Malaysians, welcoming Chinese New Year in the past week was a busy yet amusing affair. The rakyat, though not so much our political leaders, were united in condemning the fake degree scandal which began after deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya was called out for allegedly “deceiving the people” about having a degree from the prestigious Cambridge University in England.
To make matters worse, he countered the allegations with a press statement and also produced the suspect academic transcript from Cambridge International University (CIU). The address of this unrecognised university was printed on the transcript, and a quick Google Street View search revealed that it was nothing more than a row of shops with a nail parlour.
The credentials of several other Cabinet ministers and politicians are now also suspect.
But even then, we as voters must not allow this shameful controversy, which has made headlines in international media like Bloomberg and The Telegraph in England, distract us from the fact that we have just recently witnessed one of the highest number of electoral offences committed in an election during the Cameron Highlands by-election.
No, we as citizens of a democracy we are now so proud of – the so-called Malaysia Baru – must not sit by and allow our electoral watchdog, the Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih 2.0), to disregard all the electoral offences that were documented to have happened in Cameron Highlands, including handing out of cash bribes and the use of racial and religious issues in campaigns.
But there is a deafening silence from former Bersih chairperson and now Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah. Where are you, Maria? Fight for us, fight for the people. Fight for clean and fair elections again.