KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 – The debate over federal ministers and state executive councillors accepting state awards which carry the title “Datuk Seri” or “Datuk” rages on with veteran journalist and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) supreme council member A. Kadir Jasin calling them “unintelligent”.
Voicing his dissatisfaction with the actions of the ministers in a blog posting today, Kadir wrote that while some of these leaders have struggled for a long time, the people are judging them based on their performance as Pakatan Harapan ministers.
“It gives a picture that there is no difference between Harapan ministers and Barisan Nasional leaders who are obsessed with titles and riches.
“The people are annoyed. Debate on social media shows the majority do not agree and are even sickened by their acceptance of the awards,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s view as well?
The comment coming from Kadir, who is also special adviser on media affairs to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, may indicate he is also expressing the opinion of the prime minister, but he has made it clear that it was only his personal view.
The five ministers who received the Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka award, which carries the title of “Datuk Seri”, last Saturday were Rural and Regional Development Minister Rina Harun, Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mujahid Yusof Rawa and Domestic Trade, Consumerism and Cooperatives Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.
Rina and Redzuan are both Bersatu leaders with the former being the women’s chief and the latter, a member of the party’s supreme council too. Redzuan is a first MP, winning the Alor Gajah parliamentary seat in the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9.
Can work better as a “Datuk Seri”
Rina had defended her right to accept the award, saying that she will be “encouraged to serve the people better” as a Datuk Seri.
She even turned the tables on her critics, bluntly retorting: “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?” according to Bernama.
This comment had only angered PH supporters further as social media lit up with many calling for Mahathir to ensure ministers are kept in line.
DAP has right policy
Kadir supported DAP and its stand on awards, as well as for its action to reprimand the state exco members in Melaka and Sabah who had accepted the titles. The DAP has instructed all state leaders to reitere the party position that awards can only be accepted after retirement.
Kadir also highlighted one message going viral on social media against these ministers accepting the awards.
The message, said to have been written by a “Tun”, had questioned what contribution the ministers had done in just four months to deserve the titles.
“I strongly agree with the old man who carries the title of ‘Tun’. However you measure it, the actions of the five ministers to accept to awards from Malacca were unintelligent,” he said.
PH ministers must be “better than those BN leaders”
Kadir advised the ministers to be more “sensitive”, and “better than BN leaders”.
“We are restructuring our priorities and political actions. Our every move is being watched,” he said.
He also chided a Bersatu member who had shared a message about the DAP being against the Malay rulers in their stand not to accept the awards, saying there was no such issue, because this was only about ensuring elected representatives are focused on serving the people.