The Government cannot stop people from obtaining fake university degrees, but can only act against them if they use the documents to support their job applications to join the civil service, says Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
"What can we do if they want to frame it and hang it in their house? It is like buying fake Louis Vuitton bags. They look genuine, but they are not genuine.
"If we want action taken against them, we must draft new laws," he said in response to a supplementary question by Dr Ong Kian Ming (DAP-Serdang) during Question Time.
Ong had asked the Government what action could be taken against those who use fake university degrees and those who obtained unrecognised degrees. He named Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot and Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Ewon Ebin as recipients of dubious degrees.
A commotion ensued, with MPs from Barisan Nasional and the Opposition trading barbs over Ong's remarks.
Shahidan said civil servants who were found to have used dubious degrees could be sacked under the General Rules (Discipline and Conduct) Regulations 1993.
"Disciplinary action and expulsion will be considered if there are reports about anyone in government agencies who used fake academic qualifications for job applications and promotions," he added.
He said two cases of fake degrees and manufactured academic qualifications had been reported in the civil service. They were detected by the Public Service Commission between 2007 and last year.
"In the first case, the officer was dismissed when he was found out, while the second case involved someone who came for a job interview and his dubious qualifications were detected by the interviewers," he said.
Later, Riot rubbished Ong's allegations.
"I worked very hard for three years and received a doctorate from Kuala Lumpur Infrastructure University College in August," he said at the Parliament lobby.
Richard, who has been an MP for 23 years, said that as a former deputy foreign minister, he had represented Malaysia to speak in various international conferences and forums all over the world without problems.