I can work better as a “Dato’ Seri”

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 – The level of performance by some Cabinet members in the new Pakatan Harapan government is dependent on receiving awards and titles.

Rural Development Minister Rina Harun gave this frank admission to reporters yesterday after attending the Universiti Kuala Lumpur convocation at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre, Bernama reported.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia women’s chief was one of five federal Cabinet members who were awarded the Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM) in conjunction with the 80th birthday of Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Malacca Dr Mohd Khalil Yaakob last week.

Asked about the award which carries the title “Dato’ Seri”, Rina said it is up to the individual whether to accept nominations for state awards and medals.

“With the award I am now encouraged to better serve the people.

“All the critics can give their views and opinions. But what if those who comment are also bestowed awards? Would they accept or reject them?” she was quoted as saying by the national news agency.

Rina Harun

The four other Cabinet members are Health Minister Dato’ Seri Dzulkeply Ahmad, Entrepreneur Development Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Dato’ Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religion) Dato’ Seri Mujahid Yusof.

Malaysians: What have you done to deserve it?

Malaysians have criticised the five ministers for accepting the awards, questioning how much they have truly served the nation after just five months of Pakatan Harapan winning federal power.

Rina’s comment could also be seen as a veiled criticism of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng who had criticised his party members who accepted Sabah and Malacca awards carrying the “Datuk” title.

“I don’t want my words to be seen as disrespectful towards any state government, but why should we receive awards during our first year in office? We must perform well first,” the DAP secretary-general was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Lim cited the late Karpal Singh and his father, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang as two examples of leaders who had refused any award previously.

“Even new Melaka Chief Minister Adly Zahari from Parti Amanah Negara did not accept the award, “he said, adding that the CEC would discuss the matter as the explanations given by the award recipients were “unacceptable”.

On Saturday, Bandar Hilir assemblyman Tey Kok Kiew and Bemban assemblyman Wong Fort Pin, were conferred the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM), which carries the title “Datuk”, in conjunction with the 80th birthday celebration of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of Melaka, Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

Last week, two Sabah DAP ministers, namely Stephen Wong and Frankie Poon, were awarded the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK), which also comes with the title “Datuk”, in conjunction with the 65th birthday celebration of the Yang Dipertua Negeri of Sabah Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.

– NMT