Datukship nomination: IPF president Datuk M.G. Pandithan must apologise to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamd and the King for furnishing false information when recommending Athi Kumanan for a Datukship award 

Media Statement
Kerk Kim Hock

(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Tamil Nanban advisor Athi Kumanan said yesterday that he had accepted the post of deputy president of the Indian Progressive Party (IPF).  

He was quoted as saying that he did not accept the post offered to him last year as he was tied down with other commitments, such as heading the Malaysian Tamil Writers Association.


Athi’s announcement has therefore confirmed a simple fact, that he was not the deputy president of IPF when IPF President Datuk M.G.Pandithan recommended him for a Datukship award by the King.


Hence, it is very clear that Pandithan has furnished false information when he recommended Athi for the award by claiming that he was the deputy president of IPF.


Pandithan, in furnishing such false information, has clearly committed a very serious act of misleading the former Prime Minster Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the King.


His action is unacceptable and indefensible. He must realize the seriousness of his action and must therefore immediately and openly apologise to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the King.


Datukship awards: Call on the Prime Minister to fully investigate the corruption scandal


On 7.1.2002, I had welcomed the decision by Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor to only award 40 people with the title “ Datuk “ in his birthday honours list to ensure that only those who deserve it would get it.


I had described the decisions as wise, timely and necessary and urged that the policy be adopted nationwide.


Two days ago, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Rais Yatim revealed that except for Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Johore, the activity of some people having obtained the Datukship awards by corruption means has happened in 10 states.


He further said that some Datuk awards recipients have paid quiet huge sums to “ agents “ for the purposes of obtaining the titles.


I hereby wish to call on the Prime Minister Datuk Abdullah Badawi to direct Rais to lodge a report with the Anti Corruption Agency for an immediate and a thorough investigation, as the scandal will affect the image of Malaysia’s Royalty.


If a Cabinet Minister could expose such a scandal without any action being taken by the government, the public will surely doubt the Prime Minster’s will to want to eradicate corruption as promised by him when he made his first speech as the Prime Minister in the Parliament on 3.11.2003.


In fact, on 7.12.2003, while welcoming the Selangor Sultan’s decision, I had said,


“ In recent years, one common public criticism about Datukship awards is that there have been too many Datuks around and also that there seems to be a phenomenon where the recipients are people who are younger in age.


What is worse is the general public perception that there are cases where Datukship award is no longer an award of honours that it should be, instead it has become become some sort of a “ commercial product.” 


The reason for such true or otherwise perception stems from the nominations made by political parties and as such; there is a need to nib the problem in the bud.


In Malacca, the public talk and perception is that in some cases, Datukship awards aspirants will have to make some donations to the political party which is nominating them or the successful ones will know how to show their gratitude and support the activities carried out by the political party in various ways.  ”


In order to maintain and uphold the image of the awards and to ensure that the titles really go to those who deserve it, I call on the Prime Minister to take the following measures: 


  1. carry out a thorough investigation into the scandal exposed by Datuk Rais Yatim
  2. set up a special Committee comprising eminent Malaysians charged with the responsibility of nominating deserving persons for awards by the Rulers and Governors
  3. impose stringent conditions fro ward nominations, including advising the Rulers and Governors on the maximum number of awards to be given annually and the minimum age to be attained by each recipient



* Kerk Kim Hock,  DAP Secretary General and MP for Kota Melaka