Azhar Ali found himself in the middle of a hot debate recently after declaring that “NASA IS GIVING ME A SCHOLARSHIP!?”
His announcement soon drew a lot of attention (even several prominent figures in the country) but many questioned the legitimacy of his claims. The Malaysian youngster later professed that he was duped.
Here’s a timeline of what happened:
30th April 2020:
Tahniah sdr. Kami berbangga dengan kejayaan sdr – dan berharap sdr boleh menjadi 'role model' kepada belia Malaysia yang lain. Salam Ramadan al-Mubarak!
— Wan Ahmad Fayhsal (@wanfayhsal) April 30, 2020
Azhar uploaded 4 images:
- 1st image was an email from Rene Holland (who is apparently a NASA Human Resources Business Partner).
- 2nd image was an infographic of his “overall grading score” where his 96.77% score puts him the TOP 1 percent of 3,623,982 participants.
- 3rd and 4th image are screenshots of “Citizen Scientist” listing from NASA and a tweet from NASA Exoplanets.
1st May 2020:
Congratulations and all the best Azhar! https://t.co/usCLK1tV5V
— Dato Dr Noraini Ahmad (@DrNorainiAhmad) May 2, 2020
Besides YB Wan Fayhsal, Azhar also got attention of PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Minister Dato Dr Noraini Ahmad, and Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
2nd May 2020:
Things wren’t adding up and Azhar raised many red flags. A simple Google Search exposed the NASA boy of copying his “thesis” from the internet. Even his “offer letter” was questionable.
And here’s another one – This NASA boy claimed that he wrote this thesis (although he showed the evidence pakai Note dalam phone je) for the program but unfortunately, he copied almost everything from the internet, barring the last few paragraphs.
Apa dia ni ??♂️ pic.twitter.com/FUpgl1rynW
— ? (@MohdAsriDungun) May 2, 2020
It’s also very, very weird + worrying that nobody, not even one outlet, is verifying it and merely publishing articles based on a person’s tweets and screenshots.
— azlynbalqis (@lynfunkstar) May 2, 2020
According to Azhar, the official NASA website had listed him as a “Citizen Scientist” but a search on the website came back negative.
Plus, the 2nd infographic image had glaring grammatical errors and poor sentence structure. Under the “overall grading score” paragraph, efficiency was misspelled as “effieciency”. There was also the sentence said “was is” instead of was in.
This isn’t something one would expect from NASA right? In addition, this tweet also pointed out how the NASA logo was supposedly cropped.
Writer Sadho Ram also highlighted that the NASA SUITS competition was an “on-site” activity held at Space Centre Houston, where participants must either be US Citizens or Legal Permanent Residents. Oh, and one more thing: the competition was open for teams, not an individual student.
Azhar later explained that “the scholarship is an affliction [sic] of NUS, not NASA so it’s possible for Asians to join“.
NUS has since released a statement, saying, “We would like to clarify that the University did not send a letter with an offer of admission to Mr Muhammad Azhar Bin Muhammed Ali. In addition, the University does not offer a course on ‘Mathematics/Applied Mathematics for Cosmology’.
“The NUS Awards for Study Abroad (NASA) Scholarships support study abroad opportunities for NUS undergraduates. It is not offered in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”
3rd May 2020:
He said he got scammed but he wasn't even asked to give money or anything of value.
Indeed he was speaking to the worst scammer in the world.
— Ernest Ng Bro (@ernestngBRO) May 3, 2020
To quote comic strip artist Ernest Ng, “He said he got scammed but he wasn’t even asked to give money or anything of value.”
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