KUALA LUMPUR: “I will go after them and fix them up.”
This is the vow made by Datuk Seri Michael Chong against those using fake ‘’Datuk’’ or ‘’Datuk Seri’’ titles to cheat people.
The MCA Public Services and Complaints Department chief issued the warning after getting a barrage of complaints from the public of being duped by bogus title holders after the issue was highlighted in The Star last Monday.
“I am giving these conmen a chance. Either you return the money or I will come after you, ” he told reporters at a press conference yesterday.
“These conmen who use bogus or unrecognised titles have been a public bane for some 22 years.”
Chong cited three complaints he received last week involving the use of fake “Datuk Seri’’ titles.
“One used the title saying he could obtain work permits for Chinese nationals for RM500,000 while another cheated a woman of RM250,000, saying he could get a red MyKad for her.
“The third bought a car from a woman but never paid her and has since been arrested by the police, ” he said.
Although no police reports were made over two of the cases, Chong said he would “fix up’’ the two bogus “Datuk Seri’’ if they failed to repay their victims.
On the use of unrecognised titles, Chong urged those using such titles to stop.
“I advise those who have been cheated by them to lodge police reports, ” he said.
Chong said while such titles might be conferred by those claiming to be a sultan or king in their countries, such titles were not recognised in Malaysia.
“You can’t say these titles are fake as they are given by those addressing themselves as sultan or baginda in their respective areas.
“But they have nothing to do with our country, ” he said.
MCA legal adviser Datuk Theng Book, who was also present at the press conference, said victims who had been cheated by those with unrecognised titles could sue them for the return of their money.
Separately, a 67-year-old businessman, Yap Chai Sang, came forward to clear his name after a photograph used at Chong’s press conference last week on fake Datuks was doctored to disparage him.
Yap said the edited photo was circulated on social media with claims that Chong would get him arrested for using a fake title.
He clarified that he had accepted a “Datuk Seri’’ title at a ceremony in Kalimantan in 2014 but stopped using it in 2017 when the law against the use of fake or unrecognised titles was enforced in February that year.
He added that there were five other Malaysians who were also conferred the same title by “Maharaja Kutai Mulawarman’’ with him there.
Under the Emblems and Names (Amendment) Act, an offender is liable to a fine of RM20,000, a jail term of up to three years or both, while those guilty of soliciting awards or trying to sell fake awards can face up to 20 years in jail under the Awards Act.
The enhanced punishment was introduced following the enforcement of the Offences Relating to Awards Act 2017 (Act 787).
Last Monday, Council of Federal Datuks of Malaysia president Datuk Awalan Abdul Aziz said efforts were underway to set up a national body to register genuine title holders and weed out the fake ones.