KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — A Perdana Fellow accepted for placement at the Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti) has been removed from the prestigious programme after his credentials could not be verified, the Youth and Sports Ministry (KBS) announced today.
The announcement came after Muhammad Azhar Ali, a public university graduate from KL, had listed several of his achievements on his profile that was shared by Investment, Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz on the latter’s Instagram profile on August 23.
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.
“Therefore, the individual will be terminated from the programme after violating the terms of agreement.
“However, he will be offered to participate in counselling sessions and the ministry will commence investigation to ensure the programme’s implementation will be strengthened in the near future,” the statement issued by KBS’s Corporate Communications Unit said.
According to KBS, all Perdana Fellow intakes go through stringent procedures set by the National Department of Youth and Sports and security screening by the Malaysia Office of the Chief Government Security Officer (CGSO), which has been the practice since the programme’s inception in 2013.
The Perdana Fellows is a mentoring and internship programme aimed at generating dynamic and competitive youth with relevant knowledge of the nation’s administrative system.
The participants are placed under the direct purview of Cabinet ministers on a ratio of two participants for every minister and a fellow with the chief secretary to the government.
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.