Inspector General of Police Hamid Bador, at a recent media conference, announced the arrest of 34 people linked to the Macau scam, among whom were officers from various enforcement agencies.
Likewise, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) over the last few weeks reported the arrest of 68 people believed to be gang members, some of whom were reportedly holders of federal or state honorifics.
Federal and state governments that award honorifics to individuals have an established set of rules and criteria. Such awards are normally given to deserving individuals at the discretion of state rulers on the occasion of the rulers’ birthdays.
Recipients bestowed with such awards are deemed to have contributed exemplary service to the state and are of reputable and untarnished character. As such, recipients are expected to carry themselves with honour and dignity and not engage in conduct that would bring them to disrepute.
Over the last several years, there has been a hike in the number of criminal cases involving federal and state honorific recipients. These include corruption, money laundering, gangsterism, extortion, fights and a host of other criminal offences. Arrests were made either by the police or the MACC.
When prosecuted, they not only are disgraced but also degrade and dishonour their honorific titles. Their undesirable activities demean and dishonour the state and the rulers who bestowed them the awards.
To restore and preserve the sanctity, honour and integrity of the awards, Patriot suggests that all federal and state honorific award recipients convicted of criminal activities have their honorific revoked and their awards de-gazetted.
The public image of a Tan Sri, Dato Seri or Dato attired in the infamous orange MACC attire, handcuffed and arraigned in court to face criminal charges is disgusting. Of late, such sights have been a regular feature in the media.
What is even more disgusting is that the arraigned individual does not appear to be remorseful; rather, he leaves the courthouse with a broad smile.
What does this say to our younger generation who look upon such titled individuals with high regard?
Patriot respects the right of the states and rulers to bestow honorifics to whomever they wish. But one has to consider which of the two is more important to preserve: the sanctity and integrity of the honorific or a disgraced recipient?
Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)