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KL-based syndicate to blame, says Malek

MALACCA: The confidential secretary of the 19th Naning chieftain has accused a syndicate of conning some 200 people to register and pay hefty sums for unrecognised Datukships during an “investiture” ceremony to be held on Sept 14.
Datuk Seri Malek Adam claimed that the syndicate, based in Kuala Lumpur, had collected the cash and sent out letters to these people to receive the awards during the ceremony, which was to be organised at the balai rasmi in Simpang Ampat, Alor Gajah, to honour customary leaders.
The syndicate, he further alleged, had met the chieftain and promised to help with funds to organise cultural and customary events but were actually selling titles for huge sums.
“These 200 people will be sharing the same faith as Sebestian Koh be­-cause the syndicate is trying to fleece them. We are now concerned that they will turn up on Sept 14 and demand for their titles,” he said yesterday.
However, Malek maintained that the chieftain Dato’ Seri Raja Merah Dato Abdul Latif Hashim did not know who Koh was and questioned if he had been a legitimate recipient during another ceremony on Feb 16.
“Koh could have been among those who turned up during the ceremony, complaining that they had the official letter from the chieftain but their names were not among the recipients.
“As they were already at the balai rasmi, the chieftain could probably have awarded him the Datukship out of sympathy,” he claimed.
The Star had front-paged the issue of questionable titles conferred by Naning chieftains in Malacca, and interviewed Abdul Latif, who had handed out scores of unrecognised Datukships and other titles to those who “contributed” to the Naning territory.
On Wednesday, Koh, 49, had furnished a picture of him receiving the award from Abdul Latif, adding that he was led to believe that the award was genuine and he almost paid RM90,000 for it.
Malek said a report was lodged at the Alor Gajah police headquarters at 11am on Wednesday on Koh’s statement.
Meanwhile, MCA Public Service and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong advised people not to chase after titles, adding that “if you work hard and do your part, the title will be conferred to you”.