KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 18 — A Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (Miti) official has confirmed that the Perdana Fellow removed from the programme is no longer attached to the ministry.
Suria Zainal asserted that a WhatsApp conversation purportedly between herself and Muhammad Azhar Ali — which the latter is alleged to have posted on his Instagram — was fabricated.
“Hello, could you please delete this post as the screenshot (of the) message that was put up was fabricated. Please delete my profile from your post ASAP. Thank you,” she posted in reply to a thread about Muhammad Azhar on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
X user @BN4everTN5O had posted a series of posts on X asking Miti Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz and Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh if action had been taken against Muhammad Azhar.
In the thread that went viral, screenshots taken from stories from Instagram account @azharsturtle were posted, which showed a conversation with the same Suria Zainal mentioned above, in which she appeared to have told Muhammad Azhar that the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) had to release a statement to placate the public but that Tengku Zafrul had requested for him to carry out his duties as usual.
Another Instagram story attached to the thread was a picture of Tengku Zafrul with a caption implying that Muhammad Azhar had accompanied the former to the airport.
Suria told online news platform The Scoop that she will be filing a police report on the matter.
“The statement saying (KBS issued the statement to keep the public quiet and that he could resume work in Miti) is totally not true. That was fabricated,” she was quoted as saying.
“I’m filing a police report on this.”
Last Wednesday, KBS said that a Perdana Fellow accepted for placement at Miti had been removed from the prestigious programme after his credentials could not be verified.
While the KBS statement did not name Muhammad Azhar, the ministry nonetheless said it acknowledged the matter that has gone viral and a further check with the programme organiser revealed that one of the achievements submitted during his application was not genuine.
Back in 2020, Muhammad Azhar became an overnight sensation after he claimed that he was awarded a prestigious Nasa scholarship and was part of Nasa's Citizen Scientist, an official volunteer to help make thousands of important scientific discoveries.
However, he was met with many questioning the legitimacy of his claim, which was later debunked after he said he was “scammed” and conceded that there was no such offer.