KUALA LUMPUR: Johor Chief Minister Osman Sapian admitted on Thursday (Feb 14) that he does not have a degree from Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), and apologises to all Malaysians over the “confusion and misunderstanding” over his academic qualifications.
He is the latest among several Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders whose academic qualifications are under scrutiny after Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya was found to have obtained qualifications from a purported degree mill.
According to a report by the Sinar Harian daily, Mr Osman said: “I once studied at Kolej Pertanian Malaya before it was upgraded into UPM but I never completed my studies”.
“Without my knowledge, several websites claimed I graduated with an accounting diploma and degree from UPM,” he added.
The chief minister was also quoted as saying by Sinar Harian that he felt responsible and directed all inaccurate information relating to his diploma and degree from UPM to be taken down from official websites.
Police reports have been made against Mr Marzuki for giving the impression that he graduated from the prestigious University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.
The deputy minister later clarified that his degree was from the US-based Cambridge International University, sparking calls from the opposition for his resignation.
Other PH leaders, including Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu and Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin have recently been accused of having dubious academic qualifications.
Mr Osman made headlines last month after visiting a Malaysian vessel anchored in Singapore waters.
The unauthorised visit - a day after the foreign ministers of both countries held positive talks on the maritime dispute - led Singapore to postpone joint ministerial committee talks on Iskandar Malaysia.
JOHOR PH LEADERS DEFEND CHIEF MINISTER
Meanwhile, some PH leaders in Johor have defended Mr Osman.
Mr Jimmy Phua Wee Tse, the deputy chairman of Parti Keadilan Rakyat’s Johor chapter, said the chief minister was courageous in admitting that he did not complete his university studies.
“One of the key attributes of a leader is the courage to confront the truth, admit his wrong and apologise if need to be,” he was quoted as saying by the Malay Mail on Thursday.
“Honestly, how many will actually do that? Thus, this is something most commendable. To err is human, to forgive divine.”
“So let us all give Osman and his team a chance to fulfil the people’s mandate and let the result speak for itself,” added Mr Puah in a statement.