PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will benefit from awarding the datukship to Jackie Chan as the Hong Kong action star and filmmaker can draw positive publicity to the country and boost the tourism industry.
Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the award presentation itself was good publicity for Malaysia, with the occasion covered extensively by the international media.
“I fully support giving the award to him,” he said.
“He is a major figure in the Chinese film industry who has a close affinity to Malaysia, so I am very sure he will help to promote our country and tourism industry,” said Nazri.
On Sunday, Chan was conferred the Panglima Mahkota Wilayah award by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah in conjunction with Federal Territory Day.
The actor-director shot parts of Police Story 3 in Kuala Lumpur in 1992 and attended the opening of the E-Village project in Cyberjaya in 2000.
Chan is the second foreign film star to be awarded the datukship after Indian movie icon Shah Rukh Khan who received a Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka award from Governor Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob in 2008.
Two of Khan’s films – 2001’s One 2 Ka 4 and 2011’s Don 2 – were partly shot in Malaysia.
Another foreign artiste to be given a datukship is Indonesian singer Rossa, who received the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang award last year.
Tourism Malaysia chairman Tan Sri Dr Ng Yen Yen said Chan’s datukship would help Malaysia as the star had a global fan base.
“Indirectly, he can help put Malaysia in a positive light, and one word of publicity from him would be worth more than 10 from us,” she said.
Member of Parliament for Kuala Lumpur’s Batu constituency, Tian Chua, said the authorities who proposed Chan for the award were not just thinking of how he could help boost tourism.
“Chan is a legend to the people of his generation all over Asia and such an award was also an acknowledgement of his many accomplishments,” said Tian.
Despite the plaudits, some Malaysians took to the Internet to express their doubts over whether Chan deserved the award.
They included local film director and actor Afdlin Shauki, who wrote on his Facebook page that datukships should be conferred to Malaysians whose accomplishments were a source of pride to the country.
Afdlin said that while he “loved” Chan, a datukship would not be worth much to an international star.
In a later Facebook posting, Afdlin invited Chan to come to Malaysia and help build the country’s film industry.
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