The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, today said stern action must be taken against unscrupulous people who are involved in the bestowal of awards and medals that are not recognised by the Perak government in a bid to prevent such scams from becoming widespread.
He said if necessary, stricter laws must be enacted and harsher penalties imposed on those found guilty of being involved in such activities so that they could be effectively eradicated.
"Laws should be enforced impartially without granting any privilege or immunity to anyone. Appropriate sentences should be imposed on those found guilty," he said when opening the 165th Dewan Negara Perak meeting at Istana Iskandariah in Kuala Kangsar.
Sultan Nazrin said the silent stand by the authorities and their reluctance to take action could be considered as endorsing and allowing the offences to continue to occur.
He said based on information received from various parties, including the state government, police and media reports, the bestowal of awards and medals by individuals who were not recognised had indeed occurred in Perak and was being commercialised to gain profit.
"Such activities are carried out by several individuals who will be offering awards and titles to the public by demanding certain fees.
"A higher fee will be imposed for the award which carries the title 'Datuk Seri' as compared with the one carrying the title 'Datuk'," he said.
Sultan Nazrin said the recipients of such awards would also be provided with a membership card, a special letter to protect them from any legal action as well as special emblems and logos on their vehicle registration plates.
He said this kind of activity was a form of fraud which would not only give a bad image to the royal institution, the palace and the government, but also degrade the awards and titles conferred by the recognised parties.
Sultan Nazrin said names of several individuals alleged to have been directly involved with the activity had also been made available to him by the police.
He stressed that the bestowal of the state's awards and medals was at the sole discretion of the sultan of Perak.
Sultan Nazrin said individuals would be nominated to receive awards and medals based on their service record to the Ruler and the Perak state government.
He said the names of recipients would be screened, shortlisted and evaluated by the Dewan Negara Perak before being presented to the Perak sultan for consent.
"Each award recipient will receive official notification by a letter, which will also mention the award or medal being conferred as well as the date of the award presentation ceremony.
"All the investiture ceremonies will be held at the Balai Rong Seri of Istana Iskandariah, Kuala Kangsar and recipients will receive their awards from the sultan, except in certain circumstances whereby the regent or the raja muda of Perak will represent the sultan," he said.
Sultan Nazrin said the award recipients had never been imposed with any fee and were not required to give any donations, either in material form or financial to the ruler, the palace, the government or any fund.
"Members of the public who are being offered Perak state awards and medals with a certain fee are advised to lodge a police report in order to curb the fraudulent activity," he said.