The King will not confer any titles on his birthday this year


KUALA LUMPUR: For the first time ever, the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong will not be conferring any titles during his official birthday celebrations on Sept 9, according to royal sources.

It is understood that Sultan Muhammad V (pic) has informed the Prime Minister’s Office and his fellow sultans of this unprecedented move.

Traditionally, there would be a vetting committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, which includes, among others, the Chief Secretary of the Government and the Inspector-General of Police.

This committee would study and make recommendations for the key titles, particularly for the Tun, Tan Sri and Datuk awards.

Recipients would be often informed officially at least two weeks before the investiture ceremony to enable them to make preparations, which include a rehearsal at the Agong's Palace.

“This time, many whose names were proposed and submitted found that no one has received any official notification. In short, there is no honours list this year,” said a source.

Last year, Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Rauf Sharif and two ex-ministers topped the honours list in conjunction with Sultan Muhammad V’s official birthday.

They were MCA veteran and former Housing, Local Government and New Village Minister Tan Sri Michael Chen, and former Works Minister and MIC president Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu.

The three were awarded the Darjah Kebesaran Seri Setia Mahkota (SSM), which carries the title “Tun”.

The King also bestowed the Darjah Panglima Mangku Negara (PMN), which carries the title “Tan Sri”, to three individuals last year.

They were Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Armed Forces chief Jen Tan Sri Raja Mohamed Affandi Raja Mohamed Noor, and Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

Forty-eight people were awarded the Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM), which also carries the title “Tan Sri”, while 51 individuals were awarded the Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) that carries the title “Datuk”.

It is not known why the King has decided not to bestow any decorations or medals, and neither the Palace nor the Prime Minister’s Office has issued a statement on the matter.

But it has been generally felt that the honours list was “unusually long” last year as the number of recipients totalled 1,518 people.

Former minister Tan Sri Rais Yatim tweeted that he has also learned that the King would not bestow any titles.

He said, if this was true, he wanted to extend his congratulations, adding, “Don’t let the practice of presenting tributes to the rulers continue, including at the state level”.