MCA’s Michael Chong has vowed to take action against those who use fake “Datuk” or “Datuk Seri” titles to cheat people out of their money.
The party’s public services and complaints bureau chief said he had dealt with conmen for 22 years, but more victims were now coming forward following news reports of several individuals being detained under the Offences Relating to Awards Act 2017 (Act 787) for using fake titles.
Speaking at a press conference at Wisma MCA today, Chong said he was currently working on three cases involving people who posed as “Datuk Seris” and promised to fulfil certain favours in return for hundreds of thousands of ringgit.
Chong said his team was in the midst of advising the victims, but no police reports have been lodged yet.
“I am giving them (the fake ‘Datuk Seris’) a chance. Either you return the money, or I will come for you,” he said, adding that they were keeping a close eye on new cases.
“I believe we will have more complaints coming our way. I will investigate every case to see if the law has been broken.”
Under Act 787, an offender can be fined RM20,000 or jailed for up to three years, or both. The Act also prohibits the use of credentials carrying the “Datuk” or similar titles from other countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand or the Philippines.
Also present at the press conference today was Yap Chai Sang, 57, who sought to clear his name after his face was superimposed onto a picture from Chong’s press conference last week.
According to Yap, the edited photo had circulated on WhatsApp with claims that Chong was out to arrest him for using a fake title.
Yap clarified that he had accepted a Datukship in Kalimantan, Indonesia in 2014, but stopped identifying himself as a “Datuk” since 2017 after Act 787 came into effect.
“When I was at the awards ceremony, five other Malaysians were also present to receive the same title. We did not have to pay any fees, but were encouraged to give out donations,” he said.
While the credentials were legitimately awarded to Yap in Kalimantan, Chong said the title is illegal in Malaysia as the country does not recognise it. He also warned others from using his name and position to frame people, as seen in Yap’s case. – FMT