Council of Datuks wants heavier punishment for those with fake titles

Abdul Razak Dawood (centre, front row) and members of the Council of Federal Datuks in Malaysia at the press conference today.

PETALING JAYA: A council of Datuks has urged authorities to use stiffer laws passed recently to punish individuals using unaccredited or fake titles.

The Council of Federal Datuks in Malaysia (MDPM) asked why enhanced provisions under the amended Emblems Act 1963 (Act 414) or the Offences Relating to Awards Act 2017 (Act 787) were not being used to charge offenders.

It said individuals found guilty of misrepresentation were only given a “slap on the wrist” with minimum punishment.

At a press conference here today, MDPM spokesman Abdul Razak Dawood pointed to a report which said a businessman was fined RM2,500 for using a fake Datuk title.

He said such scams had reflected negatively on people with genuine titles.

“We appeal to the authorities to consider Act 787 with its subsections and the enhanced penalties under Act 414 to charge those creating their own Dato or Datuk title to cheat and deceive the public for financial gain and social standing,” Razak said.

Under Act 787, he said, an offender may be sentenced to a maximum 20 years’ in jail or fined up to RM500,000, upon conviction.

The Act also prohibits the use of credentials awarded to Malaysians from other countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

However, he said, there had been no prosecutions under Act 787 since it was gazetted three years ago.

Razak also claimed that an association was promoting individuals with unaccredited Datukships in the country.

He claimed that the association had invited its office bearers to publicly promote their titles from the Philippines, Palembang in Indonesia and Thailand, among others, on its website.

Even though their titles may be legitimate and given to them in their respective states or districts, they were not accredited for use in Malaysia, he said.

He urged the Registrar of Societies (ROS) to investigate if such associations had sought to register themselves under the Societies Act.

Razak said members of his council also hoped to meet the inspector-general of police to discuss the issue.

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