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Azhar Ali Who Claimed NASA Is Giving Him A Scholarship Now Says He Was A Scam Victim

Some of the people who congratulated Azhar included multiple Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister along with unverified media coverage. Some of the people who checked for the authenticity of his claim received hate.

Cover image via Twitter @theotherazharal

The 20-something Malaysian, who on Thursday, 30 April, announced on his Twitter account about receiving a scholarship from NASA, has now taken to the platform to announce that he was a victim of a scam

Earlier today, 3 May, Azhar Ali said that he is "here to clarify a certain number of things".

Azhar had made his Twitter account private on 2 May after SAYS reached out to him there to get some clarifications about his NASA scholarship claim, which had raised a number of red flags.

We also emailed Azhar at his email address. At the time of writing this story, we still haven't received any communication from him through the channels we reached out.

He has now made his account public to say that he "was a potential Victim of Scam [sic]".

Azhar's clarification comes in the form of a 12-tweet thread, where he first offers to explain the genuineness of his NASA scholarship

"First and foremost, the genuineness of my NASA scholarship. Around 20 March, I participated in the NASA suit [sic] designing competition categorised under NASA for grades 9-12. I did my part," he tweeted.

According to him, he then waited for "the best upon submission two weeks later".

"Upon another two weeks, I received an email claiming that I've been selected as top 1%. Out of content, I shared this great news with my friends," Azhar said in his follow-up tweet.

He then said that at this point, two things happened.

"...many congratulated me and a certain few checked for the authenticity for the certification."

Some of the people who congratulated Azhar included multiple Cabinet Ministers and the Prime Minister along with unverified coverage from the local and government-linked media outlets.

Some of the people who checked for the authenticity of his claim received hate.

In his follow up tweets, Azhar then offered explanations about signs that indicated that he "was a potential Victim of Scam [sic]"

According to him, in the email — which he received from Rene Holland at NASA — he was "given a link to a portal" in which he was "able to select a photo for my so call [sic] recognition".

"I took a screenshot from the link as I wanted you guys to get a glimpse of how things would look like."

Rene — according to her LinkedIn profile — is a NASA Human Resources Business Partner.

We reached out to Rene on Thursday, 30 April at around 1pm. We have not yet received any response.

"In the meantime, I have also received ambiguous emails from NUS, and this time the emails came in without the NUS domain, another indication of scam [sic]. I have also written to NUS recently," he followed up in his thread, adding that he also "raised the matter to NASA".

We also reached out to the people at NUS. But didn't hear back.

According to him, he is now using this opportunity to make a "request for people to stop making false statements on my behalf"

"I am still a student, reaching the peak of my career. I have offers from reputable institutions from abroad and I would dearly request for the people of Malaysia to not jeopardise my future career for this uncertainty," he said.

"What we, myself included, can learn from this is that we should always check for authenticity before engaging or posing any form of news to the public," he added before saying that he is "not going to apologise upon being a Victim of a Scam [sic]".

"I feel very sad for many unknown people like me who are brought to this kind [sic] scam, potentially lose their money and dignity. To all of you, please do not be afraid and keep silent.

"This can lead to depression and potential suicide as we can see teen suicide are rising due to depression. I would like to thank my parents who give me courage [sic] and guided me."

Concluding his thread, Azhar said that he would also want to thank his "friends who have dearly supported me through these tough times"

He also thanked the "individuals who point out [sic] the flaws and sense of realisation into me".

Read our story about the red flags in Azhar's claim: