This is a reaction to the 12 July 2010 Borneo Post article entitled “Hiew clears doubt on authenticity of his doctorate“.
In Malaysian politics, even though I can say that I am a great supporter of Pakatan, I have to point out that I have never liked my local DAP MP Hiew King Cheu (this can be clear seen in one of my previous posts where I have bashed him quite badly). He’s a first term MP who has been voted in as MP in the 2008 Malaysian General Elections with less than 22% of the votes in the Kota Kinabalu (9.464 out of 43,121 eligible voters) parliamentary constituency due to the first-past-the-post voting system which is used here in Malaysia – the candidate with the largest portion of votes gets to be MP regardless of whether he has the clear majority or not.
Recently, Chin Tek Ming of Luyang from the Parti Bersatu Sabah of the Barisan Nasional had raised the issue of Hiew’s “doctor” title and questioned Hiew’s educational qualifications, especially on Hiew’s Ph.D, where Chin has suspected that the doctorate had been a fake. This was just a local news which did not made it into the internet.
DAP on the other hand, has decided to make it a big issue so that they can gain from it politically. Hiew himself has shown his Ph.D in Business Administration certificate which he had obtained from the InterAmerican University in New York to the media. Those under him i.e. Edwin Bosi of Penampang then demanded Chin to apologize to Hiew for making such a remark which he claims to be “blatant show of intimidation with the aim of defaming and damaging the reputation of the DAP state leader.”
In my opinion Chin need not apologize. Why? Chin’s questioning was not unfounded as I believe all other Sabahans and especially Hiew’s voters would want to know the source of Hiew’s “doctor” title – I have been wondering about it too, whether it refers a medical doctor or a doctorate.
Now here’s going into the main topic of this article: I did a simple research, and I found out that while Dr. Hiew’s bachelor’s degree (first class honours in Engineering from Brighton Polytechnic, oh wow!) and Masters degree may be valid, Hiew’s Ph.D may be a fake/bogus after all.
From the research that I have conducted, there are indeed several universities by the name of “InterAmerican University” on the face of the earth, some of which are indeed accredited and have the authority to confer degrees. Then the next question would be: out of all these universities which university did Hiew went to? I obtained the following quote from this Borneo Post article:
“My paper qualified me for the Philosophy Doctorate in Business Administration, and I obtained my PhD in BA,” he said, adding that those who still have doubts can check the Inter American University at iauniversity.net as his details as a student and his thesis can be obtained from the website.
According to the above quote he went to the “InterAmerican University” which has the website of “iauniversity.net”.
If that is the case then the above quote is the killing blow to whatever Hiew King Cheu had said about his Ph.D not being a fake. Instead of clearing doubts, he has puts himself further deep in trouble. The reason is as follows.
There are several “InterAmerican University” which are accredited by the US government (the most famous being the Puerto Rico one), and the one which Hiew went, the one with the website of iauniversity.net, was in fact not accredited by the Oregon state government. Besides that, a member of an internet forum over here describes “iauniversity.net” as a “fraudulent diploma mill” and being famous only in “China and Malaysia”. It also is “lacking accreditation but also lacking authority to confer degrees” [sic] and questions whether its degrees are “American degrees” at all.
From the above, I conclude that Hiew may have most likely obtained his doctorate from a diploma mill which has no accreditation from the US government, thus the Ph.D is a fraud.
Whether or not Hiew knows this is another matter, but I would like to hear what he has to say over what I have found above. It is no fault of Hiew if he is duped into going for the bogus Ph.D, but if he has done so on purpose, then this should lead a serious question into his integrity as a politician.
Of course I believe that his qualification should not be in doubt (he has a first class honours bachelor’s degree with a recognised UK university after all), but not being registered with the Institute of Engineers Malaysia did not help much in upholding or moulding his image as a professional and qualified engineer. He should have done so.
The educational qualifications of politicians have always been made an issue. One Arif Shah Omar Shah who contested as the Barisan candidate in the Permatang Pauh by-election, and P. Kamalanathan who had contested the Hulu Selangor by-election had their qualifications scrutinized by the public and media during the by-election. In Arif Shah’s case he had immediately stopped studying his Ph.D as he had realized that he has been duped into going for a fake! As far as politicians in Malaysia are concerned, even Federal ministers have fake degrees. Like what MP of Serdang Dr. Ong Kian Ming, himself a Ph.D holder from Duke University, noted, it is dangerous and improper to have people with fake degrees in charge of ministries dealing with human capital development, proper accreditation, certification and standards. Looks like Malaysia is going down the drains. :\
Updated post 2013 election. Hiew King Cheu is now Sabah assemblyman for Luyang.