KUALA LUMPUR: Prominent businessman SM Nasarudin SM Nasimuddin has been bestowed with a prestigious award from France in recognition of his contribution to the country, especially in the automative industry.
The Naza Group of Companies joint group executive chairman received the Chevalier de l’Orde National du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit) award.
Created by decree in 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle, the award is one of the two most prestigious Order in France.
It is awarded by the President of the French Republic.
The Ambassador of France Martine Dorance conferred the award to SM Nasarudin, who is also chairman of the Malaysian French Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MFCCI), in a ceremony held on Tuesday.
“Over the last six years, this partnership (between the Naza Group and PSA Peugeot Citroen) has been led by your outstanding dynamism, enthusiasm and efficiency.
“You made possible the very rapid development of the Peugeot brand in the Malaysian market,” she said in her speech.
Dorance also commended SM Nasarudin’s leadership of the MFCCI, comprising 250 member companies, which had formed “a dynamic and powerful business network”.
On SM Nasarudin being the youngest recipient of the distinguished award, she said: “The high quality of your work and commitment has convinced the French authorities to make an exception to the common rule of minimum age.”
SM Nasarudin said he was humbled and honoured by the recognition.
“Today, I am proud to note that through the Naza Group, France is a strong contender in the automotive sector commanding 20% of European automotive market share in Malaysia.”
As a result of the Naza Group’s success with the Peugeot marque, the group, via its subsidiary Naza Euro Motors Sdn Bhd, was appointed the official distributor of the Citroen brand in Malaysia, besides operating the Citroen distribution in Brunei.