Sunday, July 13 2003

‘About 10,000 bogus American graduates in Malaysia’

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12: Malaysians should beware of fraudulent organisations in the United States and here which offer unrecognised or bogus American degrees as there is a noticeable rise in such cases.
American Universities Alumni Malaysia vice-president and Youth chairman Gavin Tee Swee Heng said many Malaysians were unaware of the ambiguity of the term "university" in the US.
Tan, who chaired a forum on "Where do American Graduates Go? — Challenges US graduates face and issues affecting the value of US degrees" organised by AUAM today, said any US company can register itself with "university" as part of its name, with the US Department of Commerce for as little as US$50 (RM190).
He said there were cases where unaccredited courses have been passed off as a degree recognised by the Malaysian and US Governments.
"It has come to our attention that there are parties posing as US university partners or institutions offering ‘certified', ‘registered', ‘licensed' or ‘approved' American degrees." Tee said the only term that signalled recognition for an American degree is "accredited".
AUAM also alleged that there are counterfeit Bachelors, Masters and even Doctorate degrees for sale, while some institutions "award" such degrees to students after dubious two- or three-month courses.
He said there are about 10,000 bogus American graduates in Malaysia who had obtained these degrees, either knowingly or otherwise.
"These individuals tarnish the image of US graduates and alumni. It's unfair to those who underwent years of study to obtain proper academic qualifications.
"This problem has reached a stage where degrees can be bought with just a phone call." AUAM youth vice-president R. Rajendran said the problem has become rampant.
"We will approach the Education Ministry, the US embassy, Malaysian-American Commission on Educational Exchange and some private colleges to act to curb it."