PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Qualification Agency (MQA) is currently taking action on 11 “universities” for selling fraudulent degrees and has cautioned the public not to fall for “quick” degree programmes.
Out of the 11, two cases will be brought to court soon, one will be settled with an RM20,000 fine, while the rest are currently being investigated.
MQA chief executive officer Datuk Rujhan Mustafa said the claims of such “colleges” to be able to provide quick access to tertiary qualifications was simply too good to be true.
“There are businesses and institutions doing promotions offering degrees, diplomas, even masters and doctorates which can be obtained in a short period of time.
“That is totally unethical and illogical. How can you study seven days and get a degree? Don’t be cheated.
“You need to clock in a total of 60 to 90 credit hours for a diploma, 120 hours for a degree, and another 40 hours more for a master’s degree,” Rujhan told theSun, saying many had approached MQA after being cheated.
He said these “universities” are not registered with the Higher Education Ministry and are not accredited by the MQA and are just operations masquerading as learning institutions.
Rujhan also said most victims are from the lower income group, perhaps looking for better paying jobs when armed with a degree, but said there have been cases of well-to-do and better educated falling prey too.
“More well to do people have fallen for these scams as well. They just wanted a quick masters or doctorate,” he said.
Rujhan said, however, the MQA does not have reliable statistics on the number of degree mills in the country yet as the MQA Act, which was passed in Parliament in 2007, was only fully enforced last year.
Rujhan then said the MQA can only act on degree mills if it receives reports from the public, after which the MQA’s Integrity Unit will launch an investigation and then submit a report to the Higher Education Ministry’s Deputy Public Prosecutor for further action.
MQA Integrity Unit director Mohamad Azley Ahmad said the agency can investigate on several grounds and penalties vary according to the offence.
Azley said the offences carry penalties of RM100,000 fine, or two years in jail, or both, RM200,000 fine, or three years of jail, or both, and RM200,000 fine, or five years in jail, or both respectively.
He advised the public to check with the MQA if the courses they are about to enrol into are accredited through the agency’s website.