Kohilan today shows proof that he did not buy his degrees as claimed by Ong.
DAP election strategist Ong Kian Ming charged that Deputy Foreign Ministers A Kohilan Pillay and Richard Riot each had two degrees from universities listed as “dubious institutions” by media reports.
“I challenge Kohilan to take legal action against me because not only does he have a Masters degree from a bogus university, his undergraduate degree is also from a bogus university!” said Ong in a statement today.
Yesterday, Kohilan had threatened to sue Ong for saying he received his masters from a “degree mill”, Western Pacific University.
But far from backing down, Ong today pointed to Kohilan’s Bachelor of Economics from the Connaught University, Republic of Ireland, as stated on the Foreign Minister website.
“Not only does Connaught University not have a website, it was among the list of ‘dubious institutions’ listed down by the Star in a Starprobe investigation, right alongside the Pacific Western University!” revealed Ong.
Riot’s Bachelor degree from Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta and Masters degree from Preston University were similarly suspect, Ong claimed.
“Not only could I not find any website belonging to the abovementioned Chartered Institute of Business Administration (Ireland), Teoranta, Preston University is a well-known bogus university as reported by numerous newspaper reports.
“Such behavior is totally unethical and unacceptable for any leader, not to mention two national leaders that are supposed to represent our nation on the international stage,” stressed Ong.
Ong also hit out at the two deputy foreign ministers’ audacity in listing their “fake degrees” on the Foreign Ministry website.
He pointed out that in February, German Education Minister Annette Schavan resigned after a portion of her doctoral thesis was revealed to have been plagiarised.
“This is a demonstration of how a normal democracy would treat this kind of dishonest behaviour.
“But only in Malaysia would we allow two deputy foreign ministers to get away with having not just one but TWO fake degrees each,” quipped Ong.
A question of integrity
Meanwhile, the MBA held by MCA candidate for Seputeh, Nicole Wong, from the West Coast University Panama was equally shady, Ong said.
“…[The university] is not recognised by the National Council of University Assessment and Accreditation (CONEAUPA) in Panama.
“It is also listed as one of the universities which are ‘unauthorised schools’ and which issues ‘invalid degrees’ by the state of Oregon in the United States,” revealed Ong.
The opposition leader also pointed out that Lee Ban Seng’s claim yesterday that he actually graduated from the American Liberty University, and not “degree mill” Rutherford University as stated in his biodata, did not absolve him.
“The problem remains since the American Liberty University is also reported to be a degree mill and a non-accredited university,” said Ong.
He reiterated that one need not be a graduate to be a public elected official.
“But having lied about how one has obtained a degree most certainly disqualifies a person, from an integrity standpoint, from being a candidate.”
He called on the candidates to explain to the public whether their degrees were properly earned or purchased.
“If they acknowledge that their degrees were purchased, I call for them to withdraw their candidacy for the upcoming 13th general election,” said Ong.
Kohilan shows proof
In a related development, Kohilan today showed reporters his thesis for his master’s degree and the transcript of his bachelor’s degree examination results as proof of his academic qualifications.
Kohilan brought along the proof to the press conference held at the party headquarters, here, to refute Ong’s claim.
Kohilan had obtained a Master of Science in Industrial Economics from the Pacific Western University, United States in 1992, one year after he received a bachelor’s degree from Connaught University, Ireland.
He said the Pacific Western University was closed when it was found to have sold degrees, 14 years after he completed his studies there.
Hence, Kohilan wants Ong to apologise for his false allegation on his academic qualifications and may take legal action if Ong continues with the allegation.
Kohilan said he went abroad to further his studies after completing Form Six in 1987.
“I obtained all my academic qualifications by studying hard, so there is no truth to the allegation that I bought my degrees,” he said.
Kohilan said after getting his master’s degree in 1992, he became a lecturer in economics and statistics at Stamford College until 2008.
He said he had also written two books on economics for students sitting for the Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia examination.
BM hopefuls have bogus degrees