GEORGE TOWN: Penang Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth wants an urgent inquiry into government-linked companies and public universities after news that they too had received awards from a questionable outfit in the United Kingdom.
State BN Youth chief Hng Chee Wey said the universities must be held accountable, following reports that they had received awards from the Europe Business Assembly (EBA).
“If it was a profit-making private company, then I think it is fine as they are spending their own money.
“But if it is a public institution like a municipal council or a public university, it is taxpayers’ money.
“I call on the higher education ministry to investigate the universities in question over the awards received,” he told FMT.
Hng added that it was disappointing that the federal opposition parties had remained silent on the issue, despite knowing that many others were recipients of EBA’s awards.
The state BN Youth had previously urged for a commission of inquiry into the alleged purchase of fake awards from EBA by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai Municipal Council (MPSP).
This was after UK daily The Times claimed that EBA had been selling dubious awards to those able to pay for them.
Based on Malaysian news reports, past winners of EBA’s awards include three Malaysian public universities: Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM), Universiti Teknikal Malaysia (UTeM) and Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP).
USIM, UTeM and UniMAP received the “Best Regional University” award from EBA in 2013, according to a report by Utusan Malaysia on Dec 25 that year.
Their vice-chancellors reportedly won “Best Manager of The Year” in the same year as well.
One of the vice-chancellors was reported to have won “Best Scientist” separately from EBA’s “Oxford Summit of Leaders Science & Education”.
Another vice-chancellor was reported to have won “The Name in Science” award as well.
According to The Times, EBA advertises itself as an Oxford institution to sell “made-up prizes” such as “The International Socrates Award” and “The Queen Victoria Commemorative Award” for prices reaching £9,300 (RM52,000).
The report claimed the EBA outfit was run by Ukrainian businessmen, targeting areas where people had the financial power to buy such accolades.
A UniMAP official contacted by FMT said the institution would not comment on the matter. FMT has also contacted UTeM and USIM officials for comment.