By S. Ista Kyra
IPOH - A person may be a Datuk, but this does not entitle him to have a title plaque on his car.
A source in the Perak state secretariat said anyone, including recipients of state titles, who fixed emblems and logos with royalty or state insignias on their vehicles, would be fined under state laws. These plaques are usually attached to the car's number plates.
The New Straits Times was told that the state secretariat office had never given permission to any individual or group to use or produce plaques bearing the Perak state or royalty emblems or logos.
These include state award recipients, who had placed emblems carrying their Pingat Jasa Kebaktian and Ahli Mangku Perak titles on their vehicles.
"To date, there has never been any permission issued for the use of the vehicle plaques, although the enactment states that a permission letter is required.
"There is no such thing as an 'original' vehicle plaque, even for genuine state award recipients and all such items are considered fake," said the source, adding that the only other body which could give permission is the sultan of Perak's office.
Another source said many people were not aware that displaying plaques, especially those with Perak state royalty emblems, could be fined up to RM1,000 (S$400).
Under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Enactment 1966, the state secretariat office and the Perak sultan's office are in charge of overseeing the use of the coat of arms, banners, state royal seal and government seal, government coat of arms, title awards, logos, emblems, medals and badges.
State Infrastructure, Public Utilities, Energy and Water Committee chairman Datuk Ramly Zahari said in 2006, all state award recipients, assemblymen and members of parliament had been advised to remove plaques from their vehicles to avoid running foul of the law.
"Many are fond of displaying the plaques. I had displayed one, but removed it after being told that it obstructed a clear view of our vehicle registration number."
Ramly said he felt it was better not to display any plaques to prevent abuse by unscrupulous parties.
"The plaque does not guarantee that the person in the vehicle is truly an official.
"It is better for assemblymen and MPs to produce their authority cards."
The issue of fake royal emblems and logos on vehicle registration plates came to light after police reports were lodged in Penang by people duped into buying the emblems to give them alleged immunity against traffic offences.
Several members of the public had admitted to forking out up to RM5,000 to buy insignias bearing the word Ahli Diraja (members of royalty), hoping that they would not be stopped by policemen or Road Transport Department officers.
Last Wednesday, state secretary Datuk Abdul Puhat Mat Nayan said the state government had never recognised any emblem to denote a person's status as a member of the royalty.