KUALA LUMPUR: Some bogus “Datuks” have purchased their titles online and members of the public are being cautioned to be alert.
Council of Federal Datuks of Malaysia (MDPM) exco member Datuk Samson David Maman said it had received reports of groups offering fake Datuk titles on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp, and even via online stores.
He cited a complaint he received on Sunday in which an “association” was offering online services for members to obtain watikah (credentials), medals, car emblems and other paraphernalia of a particular state for a fee.
The association, he added, was charging members RM80,000 for a “Datukship” and RM120,000 for a “Datuk Seri” title.
Samson said the law related to fake or unrecognised awards extended not only to the use of official titles but also covered official dress code, car emblems and paraphernalia.
He also highlighted a recent incident where MDPM received a complaint involving a 26-year-old “Datuk” in Klang, who is believed to have scammed an overseas glove distributor of RM2.4mil for a non-existent contract.
He said those using fake or unrecognised titles could not later claim that they were unaware of their dubious awards.
“The public must be made aware that ignorance is no excuse for the use of fake or unrecognised titles, ” he added.
Samson said MDPM would usually advise those duped by fake Datuks to lodge a police report, after which the council would raise the matter with the relevant state authorities to verify the legitimacy of the title.
Meanwhile, MDPM vice-president Datuk Abdul Razak Dawood said there was a trend among some youths who would pay dubious sources to get a title mainly for business purposes and instant recognition.
“It is also about their ego, ” he said.
He advised the public to verify the legitimacy of titles used by individuals with the respective state authorities.
Alternatively, he added, the public could visit www.istiadat.gov.my to verify a person’s Datuk title and avoid being duped.
On March 4, police in Melaka arrested three individuals suspected to be involved in issuing fake honorary titles to some 120 individuals.
The suspects were part of an unrecognised organisation known as the “Congregation of Datuks” (GDMM), which had been active for the past two years.