Embattled Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya was included in the cabinet lineup for his political strengths, not on the basis of his "unrecognised" degree, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department P Waythamoorthy said today.
"The deputy minister was picked by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad due to his credibility, political strength with the grassroots, and above all, his contributions to the win by the Pakatan Harapan government at the May 2018 general elections.
"Marzuki has explained the issue surrounding why he had obtained the said degree, which occurred some 17 years ago, and this should be sufficient for him to continue his duties as the deputy foreign minister," he said in a statement.
"Leaders of Pakatan Harapan are of credible standing irrespective if they are holding any tertiary education.
"They are able and capable to pursue the public's desire to reboot Malaysia, which was in the state of dismay with corruption and outright malfeasances."
Waythamoorthy's defence of Marzuki comes in the wake of criticism faced by the latter allegedly misleading the public about his academic credentials.
He further maintained that Marzuki has performed well in his capacity of deputy foreign minister, and is "well-accepted by the public and the foreign emissaries."
The criticism levelled against the Bersatu secretary-general by the opposition was aimed at tarnishing the credibility of the Harapan government, Waythamoorthy added.
"I hope Malaysians, who voted for the new government ending a 60-year-old regime spearheaded by BN, will realise that the move by certain quarters to harp on this non-issue is an attempt to dent the credibility and confidence placed by the rakyat in the Harapan government."
Marzuki was alleged to have misrepresented his higher education credentials after a police report was lodged alleging that the former did not have a degree from the University of Cambridge in the UK.
The deputy minister later clarified by saying his certificate was actually from the US-based Cambridge International University, which was later exposed to be a degree mill.
He also defended the CIU degree, pointing out that it took him three years to complete the distance-learning business administration programme.
However, Malaysiakini discovered several anomalies in his transcript, including the fact that his grades and grade point average were exactly the same as those on the template transcript shared on CIU's website.
The controversy led to calls for his resignation, especially by members of the opposition, while several Harapan leaders have come to his defence.
Mahathir, meanwhile, reportedly said that no decision had been made yet over Marzuki's position as they have yet to find out what transpired.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, meanwhile, said he personally did not condone the "immoral act" of falsifying one's credentials but would leave it to the PM to decide on Marzuki's fate, if true.
Unrestrained power in your hands
For almost 20 years, Malaysiakini has stayed true to the cause of providing the Malaysian public with the truth. We believe that with unadulterated information, the people will obtain power to make informed decisions.
Decisions which lead to a healthy, robust nation - ours!
Keep the truth alive. Support your robust, independent media. You have the unrestrained power to do so.
Who says it's not our fault?
We aren’t trained to take responsibility.
Everytime we observe an injustice - and choose to keep mum - the prevalence of injustice becomes our fault.
Astute journalism paves the way for the public to be continuously furnished with the fastidious truth. You are continuously empowered to act and to uphold the integrity of the nation.
The Rakyat owns Malaysiakini
We choose to take a risk on independent media because we believe that only through independent reporting can one be NOT beholden to the interest of businesses or organisations. This allows us to really pursue the truth - aggressively.
Independent for 20 years.
The victorious people
In the light of holding the truth to power, Malaysiakini will continue to uphold its mission of providing credible news to its discerning public. Your support for Malaysiakini is always treasured as a testament of innate nationalism. Your victory is our history.
Quietly. Effectively. Says it all. Malaysiakini.
Speaking truth to power
When we embarked on this journey 20 years ago, we knew we would face intimidation, harassment, raids, arrests and perhaps even jail terms. We got into this venture with our eyes wide open.
The main reason we have survived this long - when many others have folded - is partly because we are prudent in our finances. But while we may be tightfisted in our budgeting, we do not hold back when it comes to speaking truth to power and holding power to account. And certainly, this new administration will not stop us from continuing to do so.