THE move to set up a national body to register genuine honorific title holders is a good move as it will weed out those with ‘backyard’ titles and help restore the public’s confidence.
The emergence of fake honorific awards as well as unrecognised titles have reached alarming levels these days, and such rampant abuse needs to be addressed. If left unchecked, this could result in public ridicule.
This is following the news that some bogus ‘Datuks’ have purchased their titles online. One association in particular even charged members RM80,000 for a ‘Datukship’ and RM120,000 for a ‘Datuk Seri’ title.
In addition to these titles, the association further provided online services to obtain watikah (credentials), medals, car emblems and other paraphernalia of a particular state for a fee.
While some of those using fake titles are doing so to feed their fascination of having titles added to their names, some were doing so to cheat and scam unsuspecting victims. Some, meanwhile, are using their fake titles as a front for their criminal activities.
Whether these are genuine titles or not, one thing that’s for sure is that it gives a bad reputation to genuine title holders who have worked hard and contributed actively to the society to qualify for the titles.
As such, honorific titles should only be given to deserving individuals who have contributed to the community, society and the nation. That being said, a more stringent vetting process is required, as is a stricter background check on the individuals’ lifestyle. These are in addition to the standard police security vetting.
Previously, Council of Federal Datuks of Malaysia president Datuk Awalan Abdul Aziz announced the proposed setting up of a national body to register genuine Datuk title holders who would be issued with special cards as proof of the title.
This comes in the wake of recent arrests of suspects in Melaka and Kelantan using fake honorific titles.
The proposed national body would not manage the conferment of awards by the respective states, but would simply provide a platform to oversee the registration of titles. Awalan did not want to reveal the name of the proposed national body, merely saying that it was likely to be set up in the coming months. – March 17, 2021
Photo credit: Azhar Mahfof/The Star