MALACCA: Contradicting statements have emerged over the legitimacy of the Naning chieftain following the move by Malacca Government to seal the Balai Rasmi (official palace) of the chieftain and revoke his monthly allowance after mounting cases of fake “Datukships” conferred by the customary leader.
The 19th Naning customary chieftain continues to assert that he is still the rightful chieftain while the governing body of the Naning’s Adat Pepatih system, Lembaga Adat Naning (Naning Customary Board) has categorised the 19th chieftain as an unlawful Undang.
The ousted 19th chieftain even offered RM19,019.19 as reward to those who came forward to expose the syndicates supporting three others in what he claims to be illegitimate chieftains accused of peddling unrecognised “Datukship” to the masses since 2011.
Confidential secretary of the chieftain, “Datuk Seri” Malek Adam alleged that the syndicates, all based in Kuala Lumpur had collected hefty cash since 2011 and awarded to scores of invalid recipients totalling about 600 people.
“We are giving away the cash reward as the reputation of the rightful Naning Chieftain Datuk Seri Raja Merah Datuk Abdul Latif Hashim has been smeared following the uncontrolled peddling of the fallacious awards to the public and he is still the rightful chieftain,” he said.
Malek said such syndicate members have also approached the chieftain promising to help with funds for organising cultural and customary events for Naning and behind they were “selling” of the titles for huge sums without the knowledge of the former.
He noted that titles Datuk Seri, Datuk Paduka and Datuk titles were only conferred to customary leaders during investiture ceremony.
However, Lembaga Adat Naning said the 19th chieftain was an unlawful Undang as the board had dismissed him seven years ago and that he has no right to offer such rewards.
Secretary of the board, Datuk Paduka Seri Syahbandar Omar Ali said that the board, which appointed the chieftain Datuk Seri Raja Merah Datuk Abdul Latif Hashim in 2004, axed him after he was found having close links with syndicate and earned lucrative commission from selling illegal titles.
He said Malacca Government had revoked the monthly allowance of the Chieftain and even sealed the official palace in Naning, Alor Gajah on Jan 3.
“The action by the state government clearly reflects that Abdul Latiff is no longer recognised as chieftain.
“The reward is just a smoke screen by the Abdul Latiff to evade arrest by authorities following his past involvement in selling fake honorary titles,” he said.
Omar said Abdul Latif and his men were telling lies that they were not linked to the syndicate and we have lodged 21 reports since last year where our board had submitted all the evidences to authorities to implicate all those involved in the scam.
Omar described the chieftain as individual of a “sleazy character” and was fabricating stories that he had no links with the syndicate.
He said Abdul Latif had also violated the Adat Perpatih system practised by Naning Kingdom since the early days by conferring titles for monetary gains.
Omar also pointed out that never in Naning’s history, any chieftains have conferred Datukship to non-adat (person with no links to Naning’s Adat Perpatih) individuals.
Only titles conferred by Malacca governor are legitimate