Give them only to de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ents

New Straits Times - - Letters -

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FRI­DAY, MARCH 24, 2017 THE au­thor­i­ties must take stern ac­tion against syn­di­cates and con men who of­fer fake “datuk­ships”.

These un­scrupu­lous peo­ple charge ex­or­bi­tant prices to de­ceive in­di­vid­u­als who are ob­sessed with ti­tles (gila pangkat) and are will­ing to part with hundreds of thou­sands of ring­git for them.

Today, the pop­u­lar joke is that “if one were to throw a stone in the street, it will hit at least one Datuk’s head”, which means that the money and power of syn­di­cates and im­posters are so ram­pant that cer­tain states which con­fer “datukship” or “Datuk Seri” have lost their cred­i­bil­ity.

It is good that the Prime Min­is­ter ’s Depart­ment is drafting new laws to put a stop to the buy­ing or sell­ing of ti­tles and awards from unau­tho­rised in­di­vid­u­als.

I re­mem­ber read­ing our first Prime Min­is­ter Tunku Ab­dul Rahman was never a Datuk, and there were only five Datuks in his first cab­i­net.

How­ever, today there are so many Datuks and Datuk Seris.

Awards or ti­tles are sup­posed to be con­ferred on in­di­vid­u­als as an ap­pre­ci­a­tion by the state or fed­eral gov­ern­ment in recog­ni­tion of their in­di­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions — be it in pol­i­tics, sports or to so­ci­ety.

The ti­tles sym­bol­ise in­tegrity, hon­esty, virtue and self­less­ness.

They can’t be given to a gang­ster or a un­der­world king­pin.

One reads of such “Datuks” be­ing in­volved in crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, time and again.

The gov­ern­ment has in­tro­duced the Of­fences Re­lat­ing to Awards Acts 2016 and Em­blem and Names (Pre­ven­tion of Im­proper Use) (Amend­ment) Act 2016 to pro­tect the pres­tige of the royal in­sti­tu­tions.

A strin­gent vet­ting process for state and fed­eral govern­ments is also needed to en­sure only de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ents are awarded ti­tles.

C. SATHA­SI­VAM SITHERAVELLU Serem­ban

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