PETALING JAYA: Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya, whose academic credentials have come into question, says he will leave it to Dr Mahathir Mohamad to decide his fate.
“I will leave it to the Prime Minister to decide on my positions as deputy foreign minister, Bersatu secretary-general and other party roles,” he said in his first statement since the scandal broke.
Dr Mahathir is the chairman of his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia.
Marzuki recently said his degree was from Cambridge International University in the United States, not the University of Cambridge, the prestigious UK institution.
In his statement Friday (Feb 8), Marzuki said he has never inserted any information on his education qualifications in his Wikipedia page, and also did not order anyone to edit it.
“Wikipedia can be edited by anyone at any time. Honestly, I have never inserted any information with regard to my education in Wikipedia.
“I also never asked anyone to do it.
“When I was asked by the media, I clearly said that my degree came from Cambridge International University (CIU) in the United States and not the University of Cambridge (of the United Kingdom),” he said.
“It was never my intention to pretend I was educated in the University of Cambridge,” said Marzuki.
However, a July 19, 2018 Bernama press release announcing Marzuki’s appointment as senator said he had pursued “a Bachelor's degree in business administration, majoring in logistics via a long-distance learning programme at the University of Cambridge.”
There was no attempt to correct the information at the time, either by Marzuki or his office.
While the UK-based University of Cambridge has no such distance-learning programme, the US-based CIU only offers online, distance-learning programmes, with the total cost of a degree course coming in at only US$5,000 (about RM20,000), with fees payable via PayPal.
Marzuki said he started his studies at CIU in 2002, 17 years ago.
“There were no systemised and proper university rankings at that time or lists of ‘bogus universities’.
“I also completed all assignments as requested,” he said.
Along with the press statement, Marzuki also attached transcripts of his degree.
“It never crossed my mind that I would one day hold a top position in the government,” he said.
CIU states on its website that it is not accredited. Since Marzuki's admission he got his degree from the US and not the UK institution, CIU has come under intense scrutiny and increasing suspicion that it is a “diploma mill” that awards degrees with little or no study.
It claims to offer 150 programmes, but only has 12 faculty members and 13 adjunct faculty members listed on its website, which is currently down.
Furthermore, pictures of many of its faculty members seem to be stock images, while one carries the watermark of an online dating site.
Attempts by The Star to email multiple faculty and adjunct faculty members for clarification failed when the mail delivery subsystem noted that these email addresses could not be found or the server was unable to receive mail.
In his statement Friday, Marzuki said that he had pursued the course at CIU merely to gain knowledge on logistics as he was the chief executive officer of a logistics company in Penang then.