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Wednesday March 3, 2010

Sulu Sultan at it again

aichun@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: The Sultan of Sulu and North Borneo conferred honorific titles to three Malaysians yesterday, despite the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the titles.

Calling himself executive secretary and Keeper of the Royal Seal for the Sultanate of Sulu and North Bornea, Datuk Seri Putra Eddy T. Sulaiman presented the titles – Justice of Peace and Darjat Kebesaran Kesultanan Sulu – in a rented boardroom.

Dressed in a suit, a songkok wrapped with a yellow band, a yellow tie and wearing the royal seal, he gave a brief speech urging the recipients to behave accordingly to honour the Sultan’s name.

The investiture was witnessed by friends of the three recipients – Molly Malakias, 39; P. Elamaran, 43; and T. Ramasundram, 60.

Accepting the honour: Putra Eddy conferring a title on Elamaran in Kuala Lumpur Tuesday.

In a Starprobe report last year, it was highlighted that foreign datukships were on sale for those willing to pay between RM80,000 and RM250,000.

Then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Depart-ment Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim clarified that Mindanao datukship was not recognised by Malaysia.

In 2003, the Selangor Royal Council issued a statement on behalf of Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, saying that the sultanates of Mindanao and Solo were not recognised by the Philippine, Indonesian and Malaysian governments.

At the “ceremony”, Putra Eddy unsheathed a wooden keris, said a prayer and pinned a yellow sash on the recipients before presenting them with certificates and letters of conferment.

After the ceremony, Putra Eddy said only 40 titles were conferred this year compared with more than 100 last year.

Asked about the legitimacy of the titles, he said: “It is a political matter. Unless you are the Prime Minister or Hishammuddin (the Home Minister), I’ll talk to you. You are just a reporter.”

He then made a hasty exit.

Elamaran, who described himself as a businessman, said he did not pay for the title.

“It was offered to me because of my charity work.

“Since I got it, I will use it on my business card,” he said.

Molly, too, said she did not pay for her JP award.

She claimed she was also conferred a datukship by the Sultan last year because of her work as a United Nations Peace Ambassador.

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