PETALING JAYA - Uncertainty and apprehension have gripped the fraternity of dubious datuks, now that authorities have spelled out the stiff terms awaiting those involved in buying or selling fake titles.
MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong has been inundated with calls from "friends" who could face jail time for "buying prestige".
Many could not come to terms with the fact that their charade was coming to an end.
Chong said some could not bear having to stop using these titles and did not know how to face the public.
"Some asked me what to do and I have told them to stop using the titles immediately.
"They have also shamed their wives who are used to being called Datins," he said.
Under the Offences Relating to the Awards Act 2016 passed by Parliament last November those soliciting for awards or trying to sell fake awards face up to 20 years in jail.
Additionally, persons receiving or "taking advantage" of an unrecognised award could be jailed up to three years.
Chong said many of those who contacted him failed to take his advice against getting either unrecognised titles awarded by sultanates outside Malaysia or fake ones here.
He pointed out that while datukships awarded by other countries may not be fake, many Malaysians were unaware they could not be used locally.
Chong said dubious titles were offered by agents through introductions. He said he has himself been offered these titles but had always declined.
"I wouldn't want it even if it was free."
Chong pointed out these agents never used words like "selling or buying" titles. Instead those interested, he said, were invited to make a "donation" or "contribution" to get the awards.
"These donations can amount to six figures and there are also instalment plans for some fake datukships," he said.
He said those duped are taken in by the regalia, uniform and prospects of congratulatory advertisements in newspapers.
Chong also revealed that foreigners, including China nationals operating in Malaysia, had purchased dubious titles. He added that he supported the new law as it would deter more people from getting cheated.
Meanwhile, Bukit Aman will come down hard on those selling fake titles, Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani said.
The Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director said that those involved in the illegal activity would "face the music".
"We will enforce the law without fear or favour.
"If there are reports on such activities, we will hunt them down and take necessary action in accordance with the law," he said yesterday.
Acryl Sani was commenting on the two recent cases involving fake Datukships in Kelantan.
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