Dubious varsities abroad offer ‘work package’
PETALING JAYA: The convocation ceremony in Kathmandu in Nepal looked authentic. The foreign university was awarding scrolls to students, with the chancellor and academic staff on a stage.
The event was grand and organised professionally, giving it an appearance almost on par with those held by universities like Harvard, Oxford or Cornell.
In the audience were influential political leaders, popular artists, media owners and some foreigners who were presented as members of parliament from several countries.
The objective of the convocation was to boost the image of the university and recruit students. What many did not know was that the faculty members were “graduates” from the same university.
After the news broke that the “university” was a degree mill, two popular artistes who were awarded “doctorates” apologised to the public and their wellwishers for accepting the honorary PhD.
The Nepali e-newspaper Nagarik reported that both requested the government to investigate the so-called university. One media owner declared that he had returned the PhD degree.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, the BUY&SELL news portal features scores of advertisements that read: “Malaysia student visa with JOB.”
Subsequent to the Malaysian government’s ban on foreign workers in February, one website said: “It’s a great opportunity to come to Malaysia as a student. Because very soon, student permits will be off. Malaysian immigration is going to stop foreign workers. Professional workers are already banned. So, it’s a great opportunity to come to Malaysia as a student and you can work easily.”
“I’m offering you a full student package, including off all cost like 1 year tuition fee + EMGS fee + air ticket +airport pick up + job. Very short time process. Fly within 45 days. Approval online within four days. Approval within 28 days. Total package: 220,000 taka (RM11,600).”
(EMGS is Education Malaysia Global Services, which is a government-authorised agency set up to process student visas and student cards. The normal charge inclusive of insurance ranges from RM1,500 to RM2,500.)
Several “agencies” have sprouted in Bangladesh which supposedly sends students to work in Malaysia and many have fallen victim. One such victim was Ariful Hasan of Khilgaon in the suburbs of Dhaka, who arrived in Malaysia to study at an “international academy”.
He said he intended to work part-time as promised by the agency. He and another student, Razzaq, complained they doubted the quality of the university because classes were held only once a week.
They were housed separately and university authorities treated them “like day labourers”, Nirapad News in Bangladesh reported.
It also reported youths “who could not even write their names” on their application forms were being processed and sent to Malaysia.
Sohag Kabir, a Bangladeshi student had a sorry tale to tell after a spell at a college in Kuala Lumpur. He told BanglaNews: “There is no scope of any full-time job for students in (Malaysia). But fraudulent agents misinform the students by promising jobs which pay up to 50,000 taka (RM2,600) a month by working five to six hours daily.”
“This is nothing but false allurement. In all cases, all appointments are not permanent,” Sohag said.
Students are instead offered part-time jobs where they are required to work for 12 hours or more daily, he added.
Malaysian immigration laws allow foreign students to work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours a week, but proper documentation and approvals are required before they can be employed.