Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s credentials as an accountant questioned

n Malaysia Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s website, it is stated in his biodata that he graduated from Monash University, Australia, with a Bachelor of Economics degree and was a qualified professional accountant by 1983.PHOTO: ST FILE
PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s qualification in accounting is the latest to come under scrutiny following a series of alleged false education credentials involving Pakatan Harapan leaders.

Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) president Wee Ka Siong, in questioning Mr Lim’s credentials as an accountant, said according to Monash University’s website, Mr Lim obtained his Bachelor of Economics in 1984.

(MCA) president Wee Ka Siong

“I have no doubt over his degree qualification. However, I wonder how he became a qualified professional accountant in 1983 before he even graduated (in economics)?” he asked in a Facebook posting on Sunday (Feb 10).

On Mr Lim’s website: , , it is stated in his biodata that he graduated from Monash University, Australia, with a Bachelor of Economics degree and was a qualified professional accountant by 1983.

Datuk Seri Wee, who is the Ayer Hitam MP, also wanted to know how Mr Lim’s qualification as a “qualified professional accountant” was accredited.

“Was it by a local or foreign institution? Which country accepts an economics graduate to pass as a ‘qualified professional accountant’?

For a minister who always stresses on the concept of Competency, Accountability and Transparency, please explain and don’t keep quiet,” he added.

Dr Wee also described as “suspicious” Johor Mentri Besar Osman Sapian avoiding questions from the media on his supposed UPM Bachelor in Accounting obtained in 1985.

“UPM’s official website stated that the course was introduced in 1985. How is it possible that there could be such a super-fast graduate produced in the same year!

“If Osman fails to prove the genuineness of his academic credentials, will he still have the dignity to lead the state? This is a question of integrity among leaders,” he said.

Citing examples of several world leaders who resigned or were sacked for having fake academic credentials, Dr Wee questioned if the Pakatan Harapan leadership would remain quiet and behave as if nothing happened.

“Or will they respond with the standard Pakatan answer, that a person’s academic qualifications have nothing to do with political position,” he added.

In Teluk Intan, Bernama reports Perak DAP chairman Nga Kor Ming as backing Tronoh assemblyman Paul Yong Choo Kiong who comes under public scrutiny for his dubious Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Akamai University, United States, claiming that he had obtained it “legitimately”.

This is despite the fact that DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang had labelled the university as a degree mill in 2005.

Mr Yong, 48, was also questioned by Dr Wee as to how he could do his MBA without having a first degree.

The Perak executive councillor has in his biodata listed his primary and secondary school education followed by his MBA.

Responding to the controversy, Mr Yong claimed that his way to enhance his self worth has been blown out of proportion.

He, however, did not reveal how he obtained his MBA.

“What is the relationship between this and politics?” asked Mr Yong.

Sources: and




How to Become an Accountant: Skills, Degrees | All Business Schools


How to become a professional accountant in Malaysia? –


“Accountancy is a very worthwhile profession”: Michael Lim …

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The price we pay to axe East Coast Rail Link (ECRL)

KUALA LUMPUR: Loss of jobs, harm to diplomatic ties with China, damage to the economy plus a RM20bil compensation are awaiting Malaysia if the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project is cancelled.

The billion ringgit 688km long track linking Selangor, Pahang, Trengganu and Kelantan is already 20% completed, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong on the trail of potential damage if the project set for completion in 2024 is axed now.

The Ayer Hitam Member of Parliament who issued an open letter to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Cabinet Ministers on the matter, said he earnestly hoped the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing the project.

The ECRL project whose construction contract was awarded to China Communications, Construction Co Ltd (CCCC) and financed by China is a hot topic in the past few days, and its fate is expected to be made known officia­lly this week.

Yesterday, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia will be “impoverished” if the government proceeds with the ECRL project.

While not confirming that the project has been scrapped, Dr Mahathir said paying compensation is cheaper than bearing the cost of the project.

Below is Dr Wee’s letter in full:

An open letter to YAB Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers

The cancellation of the ECRL project and the bickering between two Cabinet ministers over the issue has become the talk of the town. I foresee this issue to be a hot topic in the Cabinet meeting this Wednesday (Jan 30).

Whether the cancellation of ECRL was discussed in previous Cabinet meetings or not, I earnestly hope the Cabinet can explore the effects of axing this project.

Take a moment to consider factors such as the friendship between the people of both countries, jobs and economy, diplomatic ties and the reputation of Malaysia.

On the bilateral relations between Malaysia and China, I can safely say that putting a stop to the ECRL project will harm the diplomatic ties between Malaysia and China.

If we put ourselves in China’s shoes, we will surely respond negatively as well if our overseas investment is treated as such.

A nightmare looms should China take any retaliatory action, such as reduce or even halt the import of commodities (palm oil in particular) from us.

If that happens, Felda, Sime Darby and other big corporations will be the first to feel the heat.

The livelihood of some 650,000 smallholders and their families will be directly affected.

From the economic perspective, the ECRL project is likely to boost the GDP growth of three east coast states by 1.5%.

It will also spur the development of the east coast, enhance connectivity between the east and west coast, and close the economic divide between the two coasts.

Through bridging the rural-urban divide, the overall development of Malaysia will be more balanced and comprehensive.

The rail link is 20% completed, with several tens of billions paid to the contractor.

On top of that, Malaysia will be penalised for cancelling the RM30bil loan from the EXIM Bank of China.

We will have to repay the loan and compensation within a short period of time.

From my experience in administering engineering projects, any breach of contract will result in a hefty penalty. The compensation for cancelling ECRL could reach RM20bil.

Financial losses aside, scrapping the ECRL will also bring a negative impact to Malaysia’s reputation in the international arena and erode Malaysia’s trustworthiness.

Judging from my past experience dealing with China and its officials, as well as the friendly gestures displayed by China so far, I can conclude that China is willing to achieve a win-win solution instead of situation where both sides lose out.

The Malaysian government can consider restructuring the project timeline or reducing the project scale, which are alternatives that work in Malaysia’s favour while maintaining the amicable ties between Malaysia and China.

The government should also keep the small and medium enterprises in mind.

Business owners in 150 related industries, including tens of thousands of contractors who have taken a loan to purchase equipment, will suffer greatly should ECRL be cancelled.

China is Malaysia’s largest trading partner since 2009, with bilateral trade figures reaching US$100bil. Business linkages and people-to-people exchanges have also flourished over the years.

Products such as palm oil, bird’s nest, Musang King, white coffee, etc, are exported to China, while people from both countries visit each other for vacations and academic exchanges, benefitting Malaysians of all races.

All these have contributed to the income of various communities and brought in foreign exchange earnings for the country.

It takes years to build a bilateral relationship, and only seconds to destroy it.

The Malaysian government should appreciate our friendship with China and try its best to achieve mutual benefits and common prosperity with China.

Prioritise the economy and the livelihood of the people, and put an end to the political game to discredit your opponents.

For the sake of the people in the east coast as well as the whole of Malaysia, the government should not cancel the ECRL project.- The Star

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When tongues wag and tales grow: be aware of politicians gone to the dogs!

With the GE imminent, politicians are already snarling at each other, hoping to score points early.

I love dogs. I’ve always had one, from since I was a child, and now, I have three – two Siberian huskies and a poodle.

Despite their differences – in age and breed – they truly love each other, and it’s a real blessing to have this trio of girls in our family.

But I can’t echo that sentiment for some of our politicians. Politics in Malaysia has gone to the dogs. The concerned players are already in dog fights and the general election hasn’t even been called yet.

It’s still early days, although everyone reckons polling is on the horizon. And we’re all too familiar with the dog-eat-dog nature of politics.

Politicians are already snarling, slobbering and barking at each other. Everyone seems to be calling each other liars and running dogs daily.

Therefore, this has left many of us confused. Who is telling the truth? The incessant snapping doesn’t seem to be seeing an end. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

Well, it was the Penang undersea tunnel that got the ball of nastiness rolling. There’s no resolution in sight, for sure, and if you think we should only cross the bridge when we get there, forget it. It’s under-utilised, at least one of them, anyway.

Well, as the saying goes, every dog has its day, but at some point, it’s going to be dog-gone for any politician who can’t stick to the truth or remember the lies he told. For certain, it will be one hell of a dog day afternoon when that happens.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been criss-crossing the country telling his audience that Malaysia will go to the dogs if Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak remains Prime Minister. Yes, those are his exact words – go to the dogs.

There’s still plenty of fire in his belly, like a dog with a bone on issues, although he called off a few functions last week, presumably because of health reasons.

On Friday night, he was admitted to the National Heart Institute. Guess he must be dog tired. He’s still a crowd puller and has the knack of explaining issues in simple language and in a low, calm voice, as opposed to the thunder and lightning approach favoured by his DAP partners.

His deadpan expressions and trademark sarcasm are enough to draw laughter and keep the crowds entertained. But he has been continuously dogged by the ghosts of his past. The palaces are in an unforgiving mood for what he has done previously, when he was at the helm for 22 years.

It was Dr Mahathir who launched the campaign to amend the Federal Constitution to remove the Sultans’ immunity in the 1990s.

Dr Mahathir has also been asked to return his DK (Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Dihormati) title, the highest award in the state, which was conferred on him in 2002. The move by the Kelantan palace to revoke the Datukships of two top Parti Amanah Negara leaders from the state has sent ripples through political circles.

Amanah vice-president Husam Musa and his state chief, Wan Abdul Rahim Wan Abdullah, returned their titles to the palace several days ago after being instructed by the State Secretary’s office to do so.

In December, Dr Mahathir returned the two awards he received from the Selangor Sultan, a move believed to be related to the palace’s outrage over his remark on the Bugis, whom he describes as pirates, irking many, including several Sultans.

The chairman of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) was the recipient of two medals of honour from then Selangor Sultan in 1978 and 2003. One of them was the Darjah Kebesaran Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (SPMS) (First Class).

Dr Mahathir reportedly told a Pakatan Harapan rally that Malaysia was being led by a prime minister who is a descendant of “Bugis pirates”.

That comment triggered outrage from the Johor Palace, Bugis community and associations in Malaysia, and even from some parts of Indonesia.

Selangor Ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah was also incensed by Dr Mahathir’s remarks in an interview with The Star.

Last January, the Sultan of Johor said he was “deeply offended and hurt” by the political spin used by certain politicians against mainland Chinese investments in the state, saying if left unchecked, would drive away investors. A visibly upset Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar singled out the nonagenarian for “putting political interests above Malaysian interests, particularly Johor”.

To put it simply, it appears that Dr Mahathir has run into serious problems with the powerful Rulers, and anyone who understands Malay politics will surely appreciate the relationship between the executive and the Rulers.

The Pakatan Harapan may feel that they should unleash our former PM since he was their top dog to best reach the Malay audience, but plans have run aground somewhat.

Politicians come and go, but Rulers remain, at least for longer than politicians. Rulers determine the laws, in many ways, and it would be foolish for a politician to take on these highly-respected royalty.

It will be hard for Dr Mahathir’s younger party colleagues to communicate with him – he comes from another generation all together. And as the adage goes, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks. He’s known to be stubborn and one who will doggedly talk about the issues of his choice.

The odd situation is that it is unlikely that any of the Pakatan Harapan leaders will come out openly to defend him. It’s a classic case of tucking their tails between their legs, with the whining kept private.

It’s truly the Year of The Dog. Let’s hope the GE will be called soon because most Malaysians just want to get it over and done with. We have already let the dogs out, and we hope to bring them home soon!

A happy Chinese New Year to all Malaysians celebrating. Gong Xi Fa Cai.

Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in
Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities nd roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly
without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.
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Opening up a can of worms from Penang Undersea Tunnel project to Ayer Hitam …

‘In the very first place, does Penang really need an undersea tunnel and
three main highways? Are the new infrastructures going to solve the congestion in Penang or bring in more vehicles?

THE trend for P148 looks promising and it will definitely be very hot.

No, I am not giving you any lucky numbers. P148 refers to Ayer Hitam parliamentary constituency in central Johor.

Ayer Hitam did not draw much attention before this. It is seen as a “safe seat” for Barisan Nasional, and has been held by MCA’s Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong for several terms.

Pakatan Harapan has allocated P148 to DAP. DAP, which was at first reluctant to contest there, told Amanah: “You can contest here under the DAP logo.”

It goes to show that DAP initially did not want to commit to a war it has no full confidence of winning.

But things have changed. Recently, DAP’s top leaders have upgraded the status of P148. Its adviser Lim Kit Siang said if (Pakatan) wants to take over Putrajaya, it has to wrestle Ayer Hitam.

People cannot really comprehend what the direct link is between Ayer Hitam and taking control of Putrajaya.

It would be easier to understand that the Opposition coalition is one step closer to Putrajaya if former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wins Pulau Langkawi or Kubang Pasu.

But P148 Ayer Hitam? It is not the seat of (Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, (Deputy Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or (Defence Minister) Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein. It is not special at all.

As for Dr Wee, it is still fresh on people’s minds that he has been aggressive in questioning the Penang undersea tunnel project.

Is DAP listing Ayer Hitam as their primary battleground because they want to topple Dr Wee? Does it want to take the MCA deputy president down because he has been critical of the project?

Is this a strategy to attack Dr Wee in order to save Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and force Dr Wee to stop harping on the tunnel project?

Or perhaps, it is an “act of revenge” to show Dr Wee some colours?

Frankly speaking, I don’t think Dr Wee will back off as he is known for his tough personality.

Quite the contrary, this will further boost his fighting will, prompting him to investigate the undersea tunnel issue further by diving 3km into the deep blue sea to seek answers.

From the people’s point of view, I think the focus should not be on the two personalities.

This does not have to be a battle between Guan Eng and Dr Wee. This should go beyond a spat between them.

It should be an issue of public interest. The public can analyse the case and be the judge.

DAP’s intention to conquer Ayer Hitam will bring the tunnel project issue to a bigger platform for it to be scrutinised and debated. This will be a positive development.

People are interested to know why the feasibility study and detailed designs for the undersea tunnel and three main roads would cost RM305mil.

A point to note is the feasibility study and detailed designs for the three main roads cost more than RM200mil.

A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed that the cost for every kilometre is about RM10mil, based on the total length of 20.3km.

The engineering industry said the cost was “extraordinarily high”. Is the feasibility study so detailed that it will find out how many worms there are in every inch of the land?

The construction cost of the undersea tunnel is RM3.6bil, with the feasibility study and detailed design priced at RM96mil.

Why is the feasibility study for the three roads higher than that of the tunnel when the roads are supposedly easier and cheaper to build?

Guan Eng insisted that not a single sen has been paid. But then, why has the state government transferred parcels of land to the investors involved?

With the exit of the builder from China and the entrance of a local fashion company (in the project’s special purpose vehicle), there is a change in the paid-up capital. This does not match the requirement set earlier. How will the state government handle this?

The reports have yet to be completed and the project has not yet started. Will the tunnel still be built? Penang state executive councillor Chow Kon Yeow said the three main roads would be built first but will this go against the overall concept of the project?

In the very first place, does Penang really need an undersea tunnel and three main highways? Are the new infrastructures going to solve the congestion in Penang or bring in more vehicles? Why doesn’t the state government build a metro rail? Wouldn’t it better suit the needs of Penangites?

From undersea tunnel to Ayer Hitam, a series of questions and doubts has emerged.

This should not be a dispute between Guan Eng and Dr Wee but an issue of public interest that ought to be explained and clarified.

By Tay Tian Yan, The Star – The writer is Sin Chew Daily deputy editor-in-chief..

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Angry with the Malaysian education system in a mess

Be civil even when angry


The ‘325 Rally’ organised by Dong Zong was touted as a peaceful gathering but it turned into an ugly show of anger.

IF civil dialogue is the life blood of demo­cracy, the fits of rage seen at the “325 Rally” organised by the United Chinese School Committees’ Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) are indeed unfortunate.

What was touted as a peaceful gathering to highlight the serious shortage of Chinese vernacular school teachers turned into a show of anger, hardly reflective of the community’s cherished Confucian values.

Among the resolutions passed at the rally was a call to remove all newly-assigned non-Chinese-speaking teachers and those who did not have Chinese language qualifications – including Bahasa Malaysia and English teachers – from Chinese schools.

Dong Zong also wants teachers with the right qualifications, who had earlier been transferred out, to return to these schools.

The other demands include a review of the Education Act to ensure plurality in the country’s education policy, fair treatment for vernacular schools and safeguarding their existence and development.

The Chinese educationists also want the ministry to conduct training for teachers with Chinese language qualifications who had been teaching Malay and English at Chinese primary schools for at least three years.

But of course, the resolutions have now been obscured by the verbal abuse and near-assault of Deputy Education Minister Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong.

Although the deputy minister has been accused of “gate crashing” the event, the organisers of the rally had indeed issued an open invitation to him to attend.

Through advertisements in the Chinese newspapers, they had also listed 13 prohibitions for those coming to the rally – behaving violently or acting against the principles of peace, being abusive, provocation or making any indecent moves, carrying weapons and such.

But with the loss of almost all civility in our political discourse, we can only expect frenzied partisan views, especially in cyberspace where emotions are stoked daily into seething froth.

The reality is there are no quick fix solutions for the teacher shortage problem facing Chinese as well as Tamil schools.

Dong Zong president Yap Sin Tian said at the rally that the problem had remained unresolved for tens of decades, accusing the Govern­ment of having a lack of will to resolve it.

Here’s a sense of déjà vu. It’s been 25 years but nothing seems to have changed on the problems facing Chinese schools – except for the main players changing roles and shifting allegiances.

Just like the “325 Rally” in Kajang, a huge gathering took place at the Thean Hou Temple in Kuala Lumpur in 1987 to protest against the Education Ministry.

The Dong Zong is now said to be aligned with DAP and its Pakatan Rakyat allies of PKR and PAS but in 1987, Barisan Nasional’s Chinese-based parties – MCA and Gerakan – as well as DAP joined the Chinese educationists in calling for a boycott of the schools involved.

Guess who was the much-despised Education Minister accused of “deliberately” attempting to undermine the educational standards of Chinese schools? The fast-rising Umno leader then was none other than the current leader of Pakatan.

There is no denying that our education system is in a mess, no thanks to the flaws in implementation. We need to rectify the shortcomings both in national and vernacular schools as well as institutions of higher learning.

But not much can be done if sentiments are always tied to political posturing or show of power, with complete absence of civility in discussions.

Before the rally, discussions were already being held between Dong Zong, Jiaozong (the United Chinese School Teachers Association of Malaysia), Huazong (the Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia), NUTP (the National Union of the Teaching Profession) and SJKC Headmasters Union and a special committee on shortage of teachers in Chinese schools, chaired by Dr Wee.

The deputy minister also announced eight long- and short-term measures to address the problem, including transferring out the non-qualified teachers, enabling Chinese school headmasters to hire temporary teachers and training of more teachers with Chinese qualification.

During his live interview over 98.8FM, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak confirmed that the steps had been accepted in principle by the Cabinet, and that the Government was serious about resolving the matter once and for all. But the assurances were snubbed by Dong Zong as “hasty and expedient attempts” to merely counteract the rally.

Now that the protest rally is over and the demands made, the right thing for Dong Zong to do is to go back to the discussion table. Civil discourse is the right path to take, no matter how angry one is.

> Associate Editor M. Veera Pandiyan likes these wise words of Confucious: The gentleman is calm and peaceful; the small man is always emotional. Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?

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