An estimated one in 20 job applicants in Malaysia has fake qualifications while one in 10 has credentials from unaccredited institutions, a corporate fraud investigation agency found.
This comes as a foreign documentary showcases a list of possibly over 80 Malaysians with local addresses having allegedly purchased fake degrees via Axact, a Pakistani firm known for degree mills.
According to The Star, Akhbar & Associates, an agency that conducts background checks on potential employees for companies, said 5% to 7% of the people that they investigated had fake degrees while 10% to 15% had degrees from unaccredited universities.
“Many of these people with fake degrees are applying for senior management jobs and it happens in multiple industries, including banks, clinics and hospitals,” said Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar, managing director of the agency.
Akhbar is also Certified Fraud Examiners Association (Malaysia Chapter) president and former president of Transparency International Malaysia.
He was responding to an Al-Jazeera 101 East documentary that found a company in Pakistan called Axact to be a degree mill from which jobseekers bought fake qualifications, including PhDs and Masters
Raids and arrest made by Pakistani authorities on the company and its operators unearthed a censored list of Axact clients that included over 80 Malaysians with local addresses.
Although the names of the “students” on the list were censored, it showed that among them were possibly over 80 Malaysians with local addresses.
Axact founder Shoaib Ahmed Shaikh was later arrested and charged with fraud.
The agency was linked to over 370 fake online universities, which claimed to be based in the United States, among which are Brooklyn Park University, Nixon University and Newford University.
The 25-minute documentary exposes sales tactics used by fictitious online universities promising thousands of paying students a degree qualification without having to attend any class or take any examination.
Akhbar said Malaysia was “one of the worst” when it came to people buying fake degrees because the background-checking practice here was poor.
“Most companies don’t take legal action and solve the matter in-house.
“The employees then have no record and can get a job at another company.
“The companies should lodge police reports.
“They will continue to work in the system,” said Akhbar, adding that companies had a responsibility to make a police report.
Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) chief executive officer Datuk Dr Rahmah Mohamed said no organisation should condone the practice of fake qualifications.
Employers, she said, could check online the lists of accredited programmes offered by Malaysian higher education institutions through the Malaysian Qualifications Register (MQR) as well as other professional and regulatory bodies.
In Malaysia, there was much uproar when news broke in February that several politicians, including Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya and former Johor mentri besar Osman Sapian, had misrepresented their qualifications.