I’m  intrigued by the report on page N6 of The Star where the MATTA president Joshua Peter Tan has to produce documents and pictures as proof of  the legitimacy of  the Darjah Dato’ Setia Negeri Sembilan (DSNS)  award bestowed on him in 1991. The state honour bears the title Datuk.

In the same report but in an unrelated development, the Private Secretary to the Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan “advised the people not to be misled into buying awards as this was never practised”.  Datuk Abdullah Abas clarifies that the palace does not sell awards as claimed by certain parties. 

State and Federal awards are very much sought after for the social, professional and political recognition they bring to those bestowed the honour. Awards that carry an attached title are precious for they propel the recipients upwards in the eyes of colleagues and associates in-house and in the world outside. Indeed, a title earns you immediate respect for being among the selected few honoured by the State Rulers and the King on their official birthday. 

Government servants receive them as a matter of course for,  admittedly, they are in the frontline of service to the nation. So too are the people in different categories of professional, political and non-governmental work that contribute to national development. Lately artistes and entertainers have joined the titled elite in the Malaysian social hierarchy.

Indeed, a kind of new elitism has emerged and a Malaysian nobility seems to be in the making judging from the high esteem and privileges titled Malaysians enjoy!

Mostly, the recipients of these awards meet the official criteria of selection determined at federal and state levels and managed by a distinguished committee. Service to the state and nation appears to be the overriding criterion! Loyalty to the State Ruler and the King is the underlying requirement! However, as a matter of opinion there are recipients whose status is dubious and whose contributions are suspect.



What intrigues me is the question of whether state and federal titles have become commodities that can be bought and sold as the The Star report implies! If so, who are the people that “trade” these awards and titles! And as trading implies, what are the elements of profit and gain in the transactions! The answer – begging question is why are there people who want to buy titles, and why are  there people who want to sell them? Are there indeed kickbacks?


The Malaysian public wants to be assured that the people they look up to as their rulers, government leaders, community and religious heads, professional and business frontliners and political gurus  are as serious about establishing a clean and transparent, effective, efficient and excellent 1 Malaysia as they are!


2 Responses to “”

  1. 1 dannalli
    August 14, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    My wife and I were invited for the Breaking of The Fast years ago to Istana Negara by His Majesty. As I do not have any title, except for my professional qualification, we were seated at the left most wing of the Dewan Santapan. Infact near to the exit. In this sort of State Function I felt so very awkward due to the protocol. On their way out, The Majesties were surprised to see us there and surely we didn’t show our inner feelings. That was the first and the last time we had the breaking of the fast at Istana Negara during his reign. Can’t blame them, it’s the protocol. Likewise during other private functions with them, where you and Datuk, along with your extended family were among the guests, this sacred word called PROTOCOL still prevail. That’s the answer to your question Nini as to why people want to buy the titles.

    Whatever it is, I now missed the chance of filling up my car at petrol station in Ampang Jaya side by side with Tunku M by his beat up Beemer, who is now a Tuanku. What a nice pic of HRH and the prince you got up there.

    Selamat Menyambut Ramadhan Al Mubarok.

  2. 2 ninitalk
    August 15, 2009 at 8:03 am

    Indeed dannalli – the protocol officers in the government interpret this dreaded term so seriously, so much so they make one feel really small if one is untitled! I think this is where organisers of functions and events, especially private ones, can loosen up a bit and exercise a more balanced approach.

    As it is even weddings have become great shows of elitism with Tan Sris seated with Tan Sris and Dato Seris with Dato Seris! How terribly boring I always think!

    If the government wants to project a truly “People First…” image they should scrap the titles from the awards, and honour outstanding people in a less discriminatory, more egalitarian manner!

    And – I do so want to hold the nation’s Rulers in the highest esteem! But not the pawns and fawns that surround them!

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