This title given by Agong is worth the wait, says Cheng Hoe


KUALA LUMPUR: Thomas Cup winner Datuk Yew Cheng Hoe vividly remembered receiving a Rolex watch from the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj following his team’s remarkable win.

Fifty-six years later, Cheng Hoe and his teammates, who won the 1967 Thomas Cup in Jakarta, Indonesia, were honoured yet again.

This time, it is by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at His Majesty’s official birthday celebration held in Istana Negara yesterday.

Cheng Hoe, alongside his teammates, Datuk Teh Kew San, the late Datuk Ng Boon Bee, Datuk Billie Ng @ Ng Seow Meng, Datuk Tan Yee Khan @ Tan Ah Hing and Tan Aik Huang were bestowed by His Majesty the Darjah Kebesaran Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) which carries the title ‘Datuk’.

Datuk Tan Yee Khan receiving the PJN which carries the title ‘Datuk’ from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at His Majesty’s official birthday celebration held in Istana Negara yesterday.Datuk Tan Yee Khan receiving the PJN which carries the title ‘Datuk’ from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at His Majesty’s official birthday celebration held in Istana Negara yesterday.

The 80-year-old said the recognition was the highest honour received by the team after the award by the first Prime Minister of Malaysia.

“We are grateful to His Majesty for remembering us after all these years and honouring all of us today. It was well worth the long wait,” he said, according to Bernama.

Cheng Hoe, who played the first singles at the prestigious badminton team event back then, inspired his teammates to power through and win Malaysia’s fourth title in the tournament, beating Indonesia 6-3 in the final.

He won in straight games against Indonesian Ferry Sonneville 15-9, 15-7 and the rest, as they say, was history.

Aik Huang felt the award made him doubly lucky.

“I was lucky to have played for the country and we went all out back then. Now, this award makes me twice as lucky,” he said.

“I am very thankful for the award and honour from my King and country,” said Aik Huang, the first Malaysian shuttler to win two individual gold medals in the Commonwealth Games.

He won the men’s singles and doubles, with fellow award recipient Cheng Hoe, in Kingston, Jamaica in 1966. Cheng Hoe was runner-up in the men’s singles.

Joining them in the sportsmen list was former Olympian, Karu Selvaratnam.

The Batu Gajah-born was also conferred PJN which carries the title ‘Datuk’ by His Majesty.

Karu, who took part in men’s 400m hurdles and men’s 4x400m in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, was a multi-talented former athlete.

Apart from athletics, the 82-year-old captained the national cricket team as well as played hockey and badminton for the Malaysian Armed Forces from 1961 to 1973.

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