KOTA KINABALU: A former Sabah sportsman who helped catapult Malaysia in international athletics is one of the new Datuks in the state.
Dilbagh Singh Kler, 70, is among 36 people who will receive the Illustrious Order of Kinabalu award (PGDK) at the investiture ceremony to be held in conjunction with the 60th birthday celebration of Sabah Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Ahmadshah Abdullah today.
A renowned long distance track athlete in his heyday, the Kota Kinabalu-born Dilbagh Singhrepresented Malaysia in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
But it was in the South-East Asian Games where Dilbagh Singh shone. He captured gold medals in the steeplechase event of the Games in 1965, 1967 and 1969.
Dilbagh Singh was also involved in grooming and nurturing Sabah’s athletes as a coach in the state Youth and Sports Ministry. He retired in 1991.
Leading the list of this year’s 527 award recipients are Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua Soi Lek and newly appointed Chief Judge for Sabah and Sarawak Datuk Richard Malanjum who received the Most Illustrious Order of Kinabalu (SPDK).
Another recipient of the SPDK award that carries the title Datuk Seri Panglima is Kelantan Umno deputy chief Datuk Annuar Musa.
Other PGDK recipients include outgoing Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Mangsor Ismail, Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister Datu Nasrun Datu Mansur, Japlin Akim and Bobbey Suan, the Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry.
Sabah Forestry Department director Sam Mannan, Fifth Brigade Commander Brig Jen Md Ruslan Md Ali Hanafiah, Sabah Medical and Health Services Department director Datin Dr Rahimah Mohd Said are also among the PGDK recipients.
The others are Sabah Journalist Association president and New Straits Times Sabah bureau chief Joniston Bangkuai and state MIC chairman V. Jothi. Nine people will be made Justice of the Peace, including deputy State Secretary Datuk Noni Said, private medical practitioner Dr Ganeshanandha V.S. Senathirajah and retired civil servant Datuk Gabriel William.
Some of the recipients are to receive their awards at an investiture ceremony at the Istana Negri here today.