By Jonathan Yim
Surprisingly, it is a crime to submit a milled degree to MOM.
On 11 May, MOM posted a reply on its Facebook page stating that people who buy instant degrees may be fined up to $20,000 and / or jailed up to two years.
“…those who are attempting to deceive us when applying for a work pass – e.g. those who pay for “instant degrees” without any learning or attending any courses. These are cases of applicants with questionable integrity and we will take action against them as we do for those who attempt to submit forged certificates. Offenders could be fined a maximum amount of $20,000 and/or jailed for up to 2 years, and barred from working in Singapore for life.”
But why didn’t MOM say this earlier? It seems the ministry is blaming this confusion on different terminology. But nevermind their excuses.
Truth is, no one really knows how we can define a “milled” degree, as some put it. What is a degree mill? A “fake” university, where you pay money for a piece of paper? What about a “genuine” university that has tried to take into consideration the work experience and prior formal learning (e.g. a polytechnic diploma) when deciding how many subjects a student must complete?
That’s not really clear.
But what is clear is that there are some who purchase instant certificates for the sake of bluffing their way through a job application. And I’m “glad” (better late than never) that the government has come out to say they will slap on the cuffs and haul this bunch to jail. But they “say only”; whether they can do it remains to be seen.
You see, you can’t easily prove the intention to deceive the Government. That will be an entire legal process to wrangle with. I say get to the root of the problem – employers who hire job applicants with milled degrees.
Why? Because if recruiters didn’t hire such flaky applicants, there would be no demand for milled degrees. As I said in a couple of comments on Facebook, why waste my taxpayer money on hunting down these flakes, let’s spend it instead on Singaporeans, and let employers do the screening.
Get to the root of the problem and root out these flakes.