King not conferring awards on official birthday this year

Sultan Muhammad V inspecting a guard of honour. - Filepic

Sultan Muhammad V inspecting a guard of honour. - Filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: In an unprecedented move, the King will not be conferring any titles during the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s official birthday celebration on Sept 9, according to royal sources.

It is understood that Sultan Muhammad V has made this move – the first time he has done so – known to the Prime Minister’s Office and to his fellow Sultans.

Previously, the vetting committee was chaired by the Prime Minister and its members included the Chief Secretary and Inspector-General of Police, who would study and make recommendations for key titles, particularly Tun, Tan Sri and Datuk.

Those awarded these titles were often informed officially at least two weeks before the investiture ceremony to enable them to make preparations, which included a rehearsal at the palace.

“This time, those whose names were proposed and submitted found that no one had received any official notification.

“In short, there is no honours list this year,” said a source.

It is not known why the King decided not to bestow any decorations or medals, and no statement has been made by either the palace or the Prime Minister’s Office.

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

Former minister Tan Sri Dr Rais Yatim tweeted that he had also learnt 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.”

Last year, Chief Justice Tan Sri Md Rauf Sharif and two former ministers topped the honours list in conjunction with the King’s official birthday.

The two former ministers 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, which carries the title Tun.

The King also bestowed the Darjah Panglima Mangku Negara, which carries the title Tan Sri, to three individuals.

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 Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun.

Forty-eight people were awarded the Panglima Setia Mahkota, which also carries the title Tan Sri.

A total of 51 individuals were awarded the Panglima Jasa Negara, which carries the title Datuk.

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