Chor: Only the deserving given titles

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 15 Nov 2003

ALOR STAR: Kedah, Kelantan and Perlis have never practised the sale of Datukship awards, Deputy Home Minister Datuk Chor Chee Heung said. 

He said he disagreed with claims by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim that only Penang, Johor and Selangor were not involved in the selling of Datukships. 

“I do not want to question the rights of other states on the conferment of awards but as a northerner, I know for a fact that Perlis, Kedah and Kelantan have never practised the sale of Datukships. 

“The Datukships given out in these three states are only 25 or less a year – so few compared to other states,” Chor said here yesterday after flagging off a two-day Alor Star-Haadyai treasure hunt organised by the Kedah MCA. 

He said most recipients of Datukships in the three states were high-ranking military and police personnel, senior civil servants, political leaders and academicians who had contributed to the development of the states. 

Chor, who is also Alor Star MP, Perlis MCA chief and Alor Star MCA division chief, said it was very unfair of Dr Rais to link the three states to the sale of the titles. 

Kota Darulaman Assemblyman Datuk Chong Itt Chew urged Dr Rais to get proof before making such statements. 

Dr Rais was quoted by Utusan Malaysia on Thursday as saying that only Penang, Selangor and Johor were not involved in the sale of honorific titles including Datukships. 

He said this was based on information submitted to him. 

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said the list of names of prospective recipients of state awards are vetted by two committees. 

The State Secretary chairs one committee while the other panel is headed by the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang, Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.  

“The final list of names will then be submitted to the Sultan for his approval. It is His Majesty’s prerogative whether to accept or drop any of the names or to include any new ones,” said Adnan. 

“As the Mentri Besar, I only offer my advice to the Sultan,” he told a press conference at his office in Kuantan yesterday. 

On reports that Pahang had awarded the highest number of titles, he said the matter was a non-issue, adding that the population had increased. 

He said Sultan Ahmad Shah was once the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, and he had met a lot of people from all walks of life, This was reflected in the awards list as it included those who had made their mark in various fields such as sports, business, media and defence. 

Adnan said that the Sultan, during his royal address during an investiture ceremony in conjunction with his official birthday last month, had cautioned those who were awarded the title of '‘Datuk’' to always mind their manners. 

On young people who were given the Datukship, Adnan said: “I know of two cases – one who has been actively involved in supporting football associations while another was recognised because of the huge contributions of his father to the country. 

“Datuk Nazir Razak was conferred the award because of his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein’s contributions to the country,” he added. 

Adnan said the state government would abide by the advice of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on limiting the number of awards but reiterated that it was still the prerogative of the Ruler to decide on who would get the awards.  

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