Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Plea on Datukships

Daily Express
Kota Kinabalu: DEPUTY Chief Minister Datuk Lajim Haji Ukin said the various State BN components should refrain from nominating too many candidates to receive the Datukship title.

“Even in Kuala Lumpur, not all of the (peninsula-based) BN component parties get their share of the Datukship title every year,” he said at the Assembly, Monday.

“So, I am asking that leaders of the (various State) BN component parties not to request the government for the distribution of the Datukship every year.

“If we can do this in Sabah, the conferment of the title would be reduced,” he said.

He said this in response to Datuk Clarence Bongkos Malakun’s (Upko-Moyog) proposal that the Datukship be limited to between 20 and 30 a year.

The Assembly on Monday agreed to increase the number of Darjah Yang Amat Mulia Kinabalu (Second Grade), which carries the title “Datuk” from the present 850 to 950.

An amendment to provide for 100 more such awards was made to subsection (2) of section 4 of the State Honours Enactment 1963.

Lajim, who is also Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department, said the increase was necessitated by the growing number of eligible persons to be conferred with the Order every year.

“To show appreciation and acknowledgement to those who have given excellent services, it is only appropriate for the State Government to confer them with honours and medals.

“But the government is confident that with the conferment of the title, it would encourage them to continue contributing their services to the State and nation,” said Lajim.

Malakun, however, said if too many Datukships were conferred, it would eventually lose its social value.

“My suggestion is that only those really eligible be conferred,” he said, adding even foreign doctors had conferred through their connection with VIPs.

“I fully support the Enactment but the Government should exercise restraint from exhausting the quota in a short time,” he said.

He also proposed that a super first class Datukship entitled ‘Datuk Seri Perdana Kinabalu (DSPK)’ be created for the Chief Minister, ex-Chief Ministers, top Federal leaders including Heads of Government and foreign heads of government.

Apart from that, he said a Third Grade Datuk - Datuk Gemilang Kerajaan Sabah should be created particularly for those in the sports sector, entertainment industry and business sector.

Lajim, meanwhile, said the Government had no intention to add more titles to the existing ones. “The present Datukships are sufficient to be conferred to the eligible recipients.”

On Malakun’s proposal to set up the Sabah Datuk Association, Lajim said the Government was not committed to the idea.

He said it would be up to those eager to form the association if they thought it would bring benefit to all the present Datuks.

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