Ex-M’sian PM Najib Razak claps back at critic who doubted his graduation from university
40 year challenge.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is levelling up his social media skills.
On Feb. 11, DAP politician Chong Zhemin cast doubt on Najib’s academic credentials, referring to a video that alleged he did not complete his studies at the UK’s University of Nottingham in the 1970s.
DAP is one of the constituent parties of the Pakatan Harapan coalition, which defeated Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition in the 2018 general election.
Confirmation from University
Chong challenged Najib to prove that he had indeed received his degree.
On Feb. 12, the controversy appeared to be put to bed.
The Malay Mail received confirmation from the University of Nottingham that Najib did graduate. A spokesperson said via email:
“The University of Nottingham’s records confirm that Mohammed N. Razak graduated with a BA Hons in Industrial Economics in 1974.”
In a cheeky move, Najib changed his Facebook profile picture to one of himself wearing an academic cap and gown.
Najib also said he asked the university for a duplicate copy of his certificate.
Facebook picture convinces nobody
But Chong was not dissuaded.
On Feb. 13 he challenged Najib again, and said:
“I am prepared to give him the benefit of doubt and wait for a week for him to upload his copy of Exam Transcript and Degree Certificate. But it has to be the one he obtained in 1974, not 2004.”
Chong was referring to an honorary degree that Najib received in 2004.
He also poured scorn on the Facebook profile change, and said that the photograph “convinced nobody”.
On Feb. 14, Najib changed his Facebook profile picture once more.
Instead of a grey-haired Najib in the cap and gown, this one depicts what looks like Najib as he appeared in the 1970s.
He’s also in an academic cap and gown, which suggests that it was taken at his graduation.
The photo gained 48,000 reactions and 2,300 shares in less than an hour.
Najib may be facing a big trial for alleged offences linked to the 1MDB scandal, but even the harshest critic has to admit that he’s winning more support on social media.
Academic credentials are a hot topic in Malaysia, after Deputy Foreign Minister Marzuki Yahya revealed that he did not actually hold a degree from the UK’s University of Cambridge.
In the days that followed, other leaders of the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition were accused of holding dubious degrees.
Top image adapted from Najib Razak’s Facebook page.
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