95 get titles, medals in fake ceremony

ALOR SETAR (Kedah) • About 200 guests, including several VIPs and retired civil servants from various Malaysian states, attended a four-hour investiture ceremony at a hotel that saw 95 people being awarded various medals and titles.

But it was all fake.

Soon after the ceremony, police raided the place and detained a man with the honorific "Datuk" over his role in the medal scam, which was carried out using the name of a member of royalty.

Kedah police chief Asri Yusoff said on Thursday that the suspect, in his 50s, was picked up at the ceremony organised by a volunteer association in Perak on Wednesday.

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Datuk Asri said the recipients were taken in when they were told that a member of royalty had given his blessings. He added that the ceremony was attended by about 200 guests from Kedah, Penang and Perak.

It was officiated by a VIP who was told to award the medals on behalf of his older brother. However, the VIP did not know anything about the scam, he said.

The victims who were conferred the Ahli Kehormat Pingat Setia Raja Negara (PSRN) medal were required to bank in RM5,000 (S$1,600) each to the association's account as a membership fee.

"The PSRN title does not carry any 'Datukship' but the recipients were made to believe that it would increase their chances of obtaining government projects," Mr Asri said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 12, 2017, with the headline '95 get titles, medals in fake ceremony'. Print Edition | Subscribe