Do (fake) degrees make better ministers in Malaysia?

By Bernie Yeo


MALAYSIA has recently been ranked fifth among 20 countries with the most number of its academic papers being published in more than 300 predatory journals that are found in a respected global citation database used to gauge global tertiary institutions in terms of annual rankings.

Predatory journals refers to publications are characterised by false or misleading information and a lack of research quality. These entities are also often liberal in accepting articles without scrutiny, and, in most cases, seek to obtain money from scholars to publish their research papers.

Universities around the world have been known to resort to such tactics by getting as many research papers published in these journals as possible for the sake of improving their annual global rankings.

Of course, it is no secret that higher global rankings equals to greater prestige and more monies.

This certainly brings to mind the recent fracas surrounding Deputy Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Zahidi Zainul Abidin and Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya when news of their dubious academic qualifications broke out.

To recap, the university where Zahidi claimed to have obtained his MBA from has been linked to a bogus university degree scam in Indonesia back in 2005; while Marzuki, who previously claimed to have a degree from the University of Cambridge, had changed his tune to say that his degree is from a US institution.

This begs the question: Do degrees – especially those from prestigious universities – make better politicians and ministers?

Where you go to school used to carry a lot of weight, but if you’d noticed, some of the most successful people in the world – Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, for instance – are in fact college dropouts.

Tertiary education is great, but nobody will judge you for not having one.

What ministers ought to understand is that the qualities a good leader should possess have absolutely nothing to do with their academic qualifications.

What is more important than a degree is their humility and empathy which would in turn allow them to better look after the welfare of the people who have put so much trust in them. – Feb 19, 2021

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