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While others, save for the lady adventurer, are keeping low key regarding their fate vis a vis datukship’s revocation by respective hereditary Heads of State of Johor and Kelantan, Chua Jui Meng appeared several times in the papers ostensibly getting ready to return the awards and he even volunteered to remind the palace official that there was still another award sans title which the state could take as well. Do I salute Jui Meng!

Yes, at the height of his political career, Jui Meng was well known and seemed rather narcissistic to the point of being arrogant. He was the Health Minister for about 10 years. During his time, numerous hospitals and clinics were being built and doubtlessly he was being courted by all and sundry for projects in their States. So now you know how he got those titles.

It is a common practice in this country that people with titles are given due respect for their contribution to the society, State and Nation. But the perception is, many such titles are given to the undeserving, those who are wealthy and have the authority to approve or ensure projects are allocated and implemented in which state. Just look at the datukship awards of senior civil servants who work in ministries with many projects. In fact, one hears rumours of titless incoming heads of ministries being offered datukship from several states, he/she just has to choose which ones they prefer.

There are also allegations of titles being given to enforcement heads to stop them from probing further certain wrongdoings and corrupt practices. Look at the MACC officers with titles and from which state. Sad as it is, this practice of giving such awards may contribute to a form of moral corruption as well.

This practice in theory is very good as it gives recognition and appreciation to those who have genuinely contributed to society in general. But as it happens we hear of such awards being given to professionals such as doctors who conduct deliveries of relatives of heads of states or even treat them. We never see this particular appreciation given to the doctors who delivered princes William (future king of England) and Harry though the practice of award giving could have been inherited from the British system of government.

It took years for Paul McCartney, Tom Jones and Mick Jagger and that also after selling millions of records internationally and contributing to the economy of the UK before they were awarded Commander of the British Empire giving them the title “SIR”. Here in Malaysia many Tom, Dick and Harry singers are awarded DATUKSHIP, one has only to sing to the Head of State and be liked by them, then Walla! You are a Datuk!

What about the man who crossed the English Channel in 18 hours and given datukship staightaway and then a few months later a Malaysian medical student crossed the same channel in 50% less time but was generally unacknowledged, such is the inconsistency! And there is one state which gives datukship like hot fried bananas and yet another who would not give unless to their relatives and businessmen. So you see the brothers of the rotating head ministers and their sons and perhaps cousins and in-laws strutting around with titles in front of their names, what a joke!

And so the value of datukship may not be what it used to be. Some people have put it in jest that if you throw a stone in a crowd, it is very likely that you would hit a datuk! So Jui Meng you would not be hit by that stone, ooops! You still have such a title award from one of the states which is the most generous in Malaysia. Just look at the top civil servants in Putrajaya, how many got their titles from this particular state.

Yet in one state any new police chief or army transfered there will automatically be given “datukship” before he could even warm his seat. Whether he has made any contribution to the state is immaterial. After all ensuring security is his duty and he gets paid for it but if he has turned the service into one of fine quality then he truly deserves the recognition and that usually takes some time to realise.

Revocation of titles is rare but when it occurs, a lot of speculations are abound but this is not really a free country so many express their sentiments in private. The power that be is ready to hound you should you insist on speaking out your mind. You might be prosecuted for not adhering to the “rukun negara” (the five commandments), one of them is “blind loyalty” to you know who.

We can understand if titles are revoked from convicts or businessman crooks and gangsters. It is, however, hard to understand if they are withdrawn based on unsubstantiated allegations, displeasure or anger.

My sympathy is with Chua Jui Meng and others in the same boat. My advice to the lady adventurer is just to let it go and move on.

For the religious, God is great and only He Knows and can judge and punish appropriately those who humiliate His innocent creatures.

That’s, folks, is my rationalisation to keeping me sane!


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