It is only paper qualifications, not the end of the world

Marzuki Yahya

Since it is something many are talking about now, I might as well come clean – I do not have a degree. Never have and most likely never will – even though I have entertained thoughts of continuing my studies from time to time.

But heck, I did not even continue past Form Five, scraping by SPM all those years ago. I did not even study as I knew I could pass the examinations.

But I also knew that even if I had studied, there was no way my parents could have afforded sending me to university and my marks would not be enough to get a scholarship. So I joined the workforce.

It was a slog, starting with my uncle’s company – cleaning carpets and toilets – before working in credit control for nearly five years.

I then got my big break by joining journalism in 1995 and have not looked back since.

Even then, it was not easy as I had to take a pay cut when I joined theSun before taking another pay cut to join The Malay Mail (back when there was a ‘The’ in the name).

I dabbled in public relations while working with Malaysia’s first dedicated sports website before returning to Malay Mail (this time, minus the ‘The’).

I left what was then Malaysia’s oldest newspaper as the executive editor – which I considered a big deal – in September 2017 and am now with Twentytwo13.

It was not easy as I said earlier and perhaps if I had a degree, I would have reached the top sooner … or perhaps not.

Nothing is certain in life.

And Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Marzuki Yahya’s future remains uncertain too following allegations he lied about having a degree from Cambridge University.

Following heavy criticisms, especially by opposition leaders who demanded that he leave office, Marzuki said he intended to prove he had the degree. But on Wednesday, he clarified that he did not study at the prestigious British university but at Cambridge International University in the United States.

“I was doing logistics (before joining politics). So I just took that certificate for my knowledge to expand my business,” Marzuki was quoted as saying.

His Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) colleagues came to his defence as party supreme council member Tariq Ismail Mustafa was quoted by an English daily as saying: “Having a dubious degree or not having graduated can be a stigma, but as long as people don’t rape or steal it is fine.”

Damage done. Misunderstood or not, Marzuki’s integrity has taken a beating.

Thus, I’ve always believed that if one always gives his or her best, success will follow suit – regardless of qualifications.

I have never shied away when talking about my ‘lack of paper qualifications’ and sometimes I do regret not going on to study further.

However, I can proudly say I did my best and reached one of the top positions a newspaper could offer without lying about my education, stealing or raping anyone.