By Mariam Mokhtar
Fake news. Fake food. Fake degrees. What more do we need?
Some politicians should be careful of the past catching up with them. This happened to Senator Marzuki Yahya, who is also the Deputy Foreign Minister when his academic credentials were laid bare, for all to see.
When Marzuki made his false claim about his academic credentials, many in Perak, breathed a sigh of relief. Some said, "Aren't we fortunate, that no-one in the Perak state administration, is as distrustful as Marzuki?"
It all started on Facebook when Marzuki was accused of falsely claiming to have a Bachelor's degree, in Business Administration, from The University of Cambridge.
An activist, Muhsin Abdul Latheef, had lodged a police report over Marzuki's false claim. He said that despite Marzuki's insistence that he had obtained his degree via distance learning, his enquiries confirmed that The University of Cambridge does not award such distance learning degrees.
When people started to question his fake degree, Marzuki stood his ground.
He lashed out against these allegations, which he said were malicious and were being used to tarnish his reputation. He accused others of "political games" and stressed that he would produce proof of his credentials.
Someone must have talked some sense into him, and that it was futile to protest his innocence as he was only digging a deeper hole for himself.
When he finally had to face the nation's outrage, Marzuki said that others had misunderstood his credentials. He admitted that he had not studied at The University of Cambridge, but at Cambridge International University, in America.
He said, "I was doing logistics (before joining politics). So I just took that certificate for my knowledge to expand my business."
One of the programmes listed on the US institution's website is "logistics".
On its website, Cambridge International University states that it "is not accredited by an accrediting agency recognised by the United States Secretary of Education".
It offers 150 programmes, including "casino management" and it only has 25 faculty members. One profile picture of a female faculty member has a watermark that appears to come from an American dating website.
There are now calls for his resignation, and at least one English broadsheet newspaper, The Telegraph, has printed the Marzuki story and his deception.
So, why do people lie? Why do politicians pretend to be who they are not, or have academic credentials which they do not possess?
Do they have an inferiority complex? Do they have delusions of grandeur?
Why do they feel the need to impress others with fabulous claims? Do they not realise that lying or making false representations is wrong? When they are found out, they lose all credibility.
If they are prone to have lied on one small point, how many other times have they lied? We cannot have politicians who lie, who are dishonest and are incompetent.
Have these politicians been brainwashed by the Ketuanan Baru and NEP complex? Do they think that they need not work hard to be successful?
I know many people who are so ashamed of themselves, their family, or their roots, that they are prepared to lie to impress others. In the end, they end up looking like fools and people belittle them even more.
Politicians like Marzuki, who mislead the public, do it to feed their egos. They also play to the crowd. They are aware that Malaysians are a sop for titles, honorifics and awards.
Datukships can be purchased, and in some instances, gang leaders with a Datukship can be treated like royalty. They do it to cleanse their image.
When Marzuki purchased his degree, he tarnished all the other graduates who worked hard to get their degrees from credible universities.
Marzuki is aware that the more prestigious the degree, the more respect, the holder will gain.
People ought to realise that the university which awarded the degree is less important than the use to which we apply the knowledge.
There was one Oxford graduate, in the previous Cabinet, who did not recognise that he was serving a kleptocrat. One does not need a degree to recognise a thief.
When will politicians, like Marzuki, understand that it is perfectly alright not to have a degree; but it is not okay to lie about having a false one.
One does not need a good University degree to become a successful politician, but one does need to be honest and upright.
Marzuki failed the test in decency and integrity. He made false claims because he knew we would fall for someone with a degree from a world-renowned university, like The University of Cambridge. Little did we expect that he holds a useless certificate, from an unrecognised and virtually unknown, Cambridge International University.
So, how many other skeletons are hiding in Marzuki's closet?