Kelantan police holding items given to victims of a datukship scam last month.

OBVIOUSLY there is a demand for fake datukships as the prices for such titles are exorbitant due to the perception that there is value to be derived from it (“Datuk Seri among those charged over datukship scam” — NST, July 28).

In addition to fake datukships, there are also fake academic qualifications where an academic degree, master’s and even doctorate can be bought for one to show off to the world upon “obtaining” such qualifications.

In my opinion, people who buy fake datukships or academic qualifications are dishonest as taking the easy way to gain recognition is not a trustworthy act.

While it is nice to have titles attached to one’s name, these must be achieved legitimately and by merit.

There is pride at stake here when a person works hard, having made a contribution to society and country, to qualify for the titles awarded.

Granted that having academic qualifications and datukship titles can make life more glamorous, but they are merely stepping stones.

Any achievement in life and milestones reached in each stage of life requires continuous learning, hard work and smart entrepreneurship that will eventually earn respect.

As such, fake titles and academic qualification do not earn one respect and recognition.

There is much shame and embarrassment should the datukship be discovered to be fake, leading to loss of reputation. Not only is it costly to buy the award but it is time consuming to live a lie.

There must be a standard registry available online to find out the datukship or any locally-awarded title attached to an individual where it is open to anyone to find out another person’s status.

Having a proper, complete and comprehensive monitoring system and accessible national registry to check on datukships issued could weed out the pretenders.

While it is good to go after the producers of fake datukships, it is hoped that police will also prosecute fake datukship buyers.

A deterrent punishment for impersonating a Datuk should be the way forward.

One way is to change the mindset of society is via education.

This means to educate that only a deserving person is awarded the datukship or any recognised title based on merit.

NG TSHU TSUNG KUALA LUMPUR