GEORGE TOWN: Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Haji Mohamad and PKR president Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be conferred the state's highest awards in conjunction with Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas's 70th birthday celebrations.
Abdul Hamid, Penang's first Chief Justice, was awarded the Darjah Utama Pangkuan Negeri (DUPN) which carries the title Datuk Seri Utama, while Opposition Leader Wan Azizah was awarded the Darjah Panglima Pangkuan Negeri (DPPN) which carries the title Datuk Seri in a list of award recipients released Thursday.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng commended both individuals when he made the announcement at his office in Komtar .
"As the state's first Chief Justice, Abdul Hamid has served with excellence and strived to uphold the autonomy of the judiciary while carrying out necessary changes in order to fulfil the principles of justice and the rule of law," Lim said.
Describing Wan Azizah as a "lady of substance filled with humility and dignity", Lim said her tireless fight for justice was a source of faith and courage to countless Malaysians.
"Wan Azizah's indomitable courage under extreme pressure when her husband, former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, was imprisoned showed the meaning of women's power.
"She is of equal standing with her husband, solely on her own abilities, merits and achievements," he said.
Lim added that her nomination came directly from his office and that she was the only exception in the state's recipient list that did not include any other Penang Pakatan Rakyat elected representative.
"No other state MP, assemblyman and Penang Municipal Council (MPPP) or Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) councillors will receive any awards this year.
"We believe that those who serve should do so without any expectation of these rewards," Lim said, adding that it was a 'departure from previous practises'.
When asked whether any Barisan Nasional party members were among the list, Lim said there "might be one or two, based on their contributions to society".
He however added that no members of the previous state administration were to be conferred awards.
Lim further said the number of datukship recipients would be significantly less from the last year.
"I'm not certain of the exact number but the list will contain less than 40 people which is less than half of last year's number," he said.
The award recipient list also included seven individuals receiving the Darjah Gemilang Pangkuan Negeri (DGPN), which carries the title of Datuk Seri.
They are ACA director-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan, Ewein Berhad chairman Datuk Ewe Tiong Hor, Halal Industry Development Corp chief executive officer Datuk Jamil Bidin, Pakatan International, Md Isahak dan Rakan-Rakan Sdn Bhd managing director Datuk Md Isahak Md Yusuf, Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Ismail Merican, Ivory Properties Group executive director Datuk Nazir Ariff and Pensonic Holdings Berhad executive director Tan King Tai @ Tan Khoon Hai.