KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — Efforts are underway to set up a national body to register genuine “Datuk” titleholders and root out bogus ones, The Star reported today.
The newspaper cited president of the Council of Federal Datuks in Malaysia (MDPM) Datuk Awalan Abdul Aziz saying it has proposed establishing a national body that will issue a special card to legitimate titleholders as proof.
He added that the proposed body will be registered with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
According to Awalan, the request to register the new body came straight from Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin and that the proposed national body would serve as an umbrella because some states did not have a representative body.
“Only Melaka, Sabah, Penang, Kedah and Kelantan have their own associations. This [national body] will help attract legitimate Datuks at the federal and state levels to register as a member.
“What is crucial is the verification process, where those registered with the body will be considered legitimate titleholders,” Awalan was quoted saying.
He added that the national body would adopt a similar process currently used by MDPM to verify its members.
He said MDPM currently has about 250 members with titles conferred by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
He explained that MDPM’s cards are issued only after a screening process in which members produce their credentials signed by the Agong or recognised titles conferred by the respective state rulers.
He said the proposed national body would not manage the conferment of awards, but only provide a platform to oversee registration of titles and organising joint activities for members.
He said that the proposed national body would be set up in the coming months, while refraining to give a name to the proposed body.
Awalan lauded the police for its recent arrests of those using fake titles, adding that they serve as a strong deterrent to individuals and numerous other “Dato” or “Datuk” organisations that the use of fake titles would no longer be tolerated as offenders would face high fines and jail time.
Under the Emblems and Names (Amendment) Act, a convicted offender can face a fine of RM20,000 or imprisonment not exceeding three years or both, while those guilty of soliciting fake awards will face up to 20 years in jail under the Awards Act 2017.
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