Saturday, May 30, 2009


The P.M.N. (Panglima Mangku Negara) was bestowed upon my late father by His Majesty the First Yang Di Pertuan Agong which first carried the title " Dato " but was later changed to " Tan Sri " maintaining the old Order or Initials.

I really can’t fathom the front page attention given to foreign Datukships being conferred on social climbers and the sort. I say that I can’t understand what the big fuss is all about because judging by the ridiculous number of people being conferred yearly by Their Royal Highnesses the Sultans and Their Excellencies the Yang Di Pertuas Negeri in Malaysia, the title of Datuk has become less significant and is almost of no value in today’s society.

I mean there have been occasions when one State gave out up to 90 Datukships at one time and in the usual events in other States except for the State of Johor Darul Taqzim, they run up to half a century every time. I have also seen some people of very dubious characters receiving these awards by Sultans, not knowing how to construct even one simple sentence in Bahasa Melayu. We have also read in the past that there were people receiving awards with police records. Again, I am wondering why we are fussing over foreign Datukships.

Once I was at a wedding and there were two speeches made on the evening, one by the bride’s father and the other by the groom’s buddy who was the sponsor for the wedding, a young gentleman who got rich the traditional way, by inheritance. Both speakers were Datuks. The first and elder one was a retired civil servant. I knew this because when the second chap spoke he said it was difficult for him, a corporate Datuk, to have his speech be compared to the more seasoned civil servant Datuk. What does that mean? Did he insinuate that his title was bought?

I also know of one lady who abuses her title to the max, talks down and loudly to people wherever she is regardless of the company she is with, talks with her mouth full and wears clothes like she has no mirror at home. Whenever I see this Dato’, I wonder if the person who recommended her to H.R.H. was mentally stable the day he made his decision. I also wonder if those conferring the awards know and are aware of the characters they pin their State Medals on. This lady Dato’, and I’m sure there are many more Dato's like her out there, reflects badly on the Palace every time she opens her mouth and people have asked me before with their heads shaking, "please tell me which State conferred this title on her?" Of course, without hesitation, I respond swiftly registering to them that Datukship from that particular State is of cheap value, not because it was purchased, but because of the high number it produces and the characters it is decorated on.

About three years ago, on two occasions I flipped through the newspapers and saw a congratulatory message for two gentlemen from the same company being conferred the title Dato’ by one of the Royal Houses in Malaysia. In another event I was introduced at a Country Club to a young Dato’ in his early 20s. I believed his title to be authentic because I was introduced to him by a former Menteri Besar before he retired. I wonder at that age, what could have been his deed to the State in question to deserve such an honour?

My argument here is that we should forget about highlighting the foreign Datukships as these procurers never misrepresented themselves as producing titles from local Palaces. Also those who were “donating” to their funds were well aware that they were conferment from a foreign land. Before we do take them seriously, we should first raise concerns over the almost unlimited number of Datukships given to people who have absolutely nothing to do with the respective States giving them out locally.

Gone are the days when initials followed the surnames like the one I saw in my late father’s call card that had P.M.N. (Panglima Mangku Negara) after his titled name. Perhaps it’s because so many fake Datuks are roaming around not wanting to be checked but feeling absolutely free because they are among tens of thousands with the same title in town. So outrageous are the number of Datuks today, even the car-jockeys at the hotels are calling everyone stepping out of their vehicles “Datuk” because nine times out of ten, he is spot on!

I strongly urge with the utmost respect and loyalty to the Royal Households in this country and the Government of the States with Governors, to restrict the decoration of Datukship to only those deserving and who have served in their respective States, to PRESERVE or rather RESTORE, the prestige and privilege that come with the title.

In this respect, I have the highest regard for the Johor Palace because the H.R.H. only bestows two or three of them every year to deserving civil servants in the State. Politicans and corporate people are the most difficult ones to receive this honour in the State for some reason. The Johor Palace can never be accused or suspected of “selling” the title to anyone.

I read in Fauziah Ismail’s blog Latte @ Chinoz on the Park, “ that the only Datukships recognised by England’s Court of St James are those from Johor and Kelantan ”. That explains, through my observation, why ladies and gentlemen who were decorated by these two Malay States carry themselves with utmost respect and honour.

p/s. Rule of thumb: Spelling for State decorations from Royalty is "Dato" while those from the Federal level and States with Yang Di Pertua Negeri is "Datuk".


Anonymous said...

So which is more prestigious sir,

Dato or Datuk?

Can I also say that Datuk from Johor is more prestigious from Datuk from Pahang because in Johor it is very damm hard to get that title.


TPJ said...

Anonymous 11.29

Commonly, the ones issued by a Sultan is more prestigious. But today you can't really tell because even the ones given out by the King such as the Panglima Jasa Negara (PJN) or the Panglima Setia DiRaja (PSD) is spelt "Datuk" and those are the most prestigious Datukship.

It is difficult to differentiate because unlike before, title holders don't display the initials of their title order at the end of their names eg. Datuk Anonymous b Abdullah P.J.N. or Dato' Abdullah b Ali D.P.M.J. Today they just generalize and have their names stated in documents as Datuk Anonymous b Abdullah or Dato' Abdullah b Ali.

I knew someone from school whom I met in politics later in life who claimed to be a Dato'. I already knew that he had acquired it from a foreign source through a close associate who was in his office when his Datukship Certificate was faxed in, but I asked him just the same where his Datukship was from. Without flinching, he answered with confidence, Negeri Sembilan.

Yes Anonymous, the Johor title is almost impossible to be honoured with unless you are a very Senior Civil Servant.

90% of my titled friends received theirs from Pahang and I have to single out one who has shown true gentlemenly conduct and is a shining example of how a Dato' should carry himself, with grace and nobility yet very humble; Dato' Megat Fairouz D.I.M.P. However, one out of thousands, can't change the negative perception that people have on the others.

Fauziah Ismail said...

Salam Tengku
Thank you for making reference to my blog.
And I also wrote that the Johor Dato -- Members of the First Class (Grand Commander) Order of the Crown of Johor (Dato’ Sri Paduka Mahkota Johor or SPMJ) and the Second Class (Commander) (Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Johor or DPMJ), carry the honorific “Yang Berhormat” as decreed by Sultan Abu Bakar.
There had never been an association for Johor “Dato”. Neither has there been any emblem for them. “There are no privileges attached to the title. By unwritten law, a “Dato” knows his standing and humility.
In this regard, the Johor Datoship is much respected.

AKEEM said...

Tuan TPJ,

Sorry if my comments is off topic a bit.Just a few question to ask you sir..

1)What is your opinion on Tun ship given to the spouse of former PM..(I feel that Jean Abullah doesn't deserve it)though I have no compalints about Tun ship of Siti Hasmah

2)I understand that Tan Sri is more prestigious than Dato Seri..If that's the case,why is most of our MB and Minister carry the title Dato Seri?

Thank You

Ahmad Hashim said...

Salam TPJ,

What about Dato from Acheh..I got friends who are using it dgn "bangga"nya..

What's your take on this?

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum Patriot,

Betul ke siapa yang dapat title Dato/Datuk akan dapat elaun dari kerajaan..

Tetapi pada masa yang sama,seorang bekas Pegawai Kerajaan yang pernah memegang jawatan yang agak tinggi dan senior pernah menolak gelaran datuk yang diberikan padanya kerana khuatir terpaksa memberi sejumlah wang jika ada apa-apa function yang d anjurkan

Mana yang betul ni Patriot?I'm confused

TPJ said...

Thank you Cik Fauziah for the clarification. I hope you didn't mind the reference since having done extensive research on it, you are the most qualified to comment and write on the Johor honorific title of Dato'.

I hope everyone got a chance to refer to your blog and read the whole thing. It is certainly educational. As I know that Johor Malays are the first of the locals in the Peninsula to eat with the fork and spoon, I didn't know that " Johor is the first State to institute decorations, some 30 years before other States ".

Once again Cik Fauziah, thank you for the information.

sfso@pulaijb said...

I think Pahang and Perak are giving out Datuk titles like giving out brochures at shopping complex..

M.Daud Kilau(Raja Gelek)also atuk title some time ago.Not trying to offend anybody though.Just feel that there's many more deserving candidates..
And just by swimming across the English Channel,u may get one too..Ask Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin

TPJ said...


Answering your questions,

1. If the Tunship was conferred on the late Datin Seri Endon, then it would have been fine because the general idea is to commend or pay tribute to the wives of outgoing Prime Ministers who had sacrificed much from the time their husbands were young divisional leaders to being the Prime Minister of the Malaysia. That time takes close to half a Century or more. I personally feel that the one conferred on Tun Abdullah's wife of slightly more than two years was inappropriate to the extent of being disrespectful to Endon's memory.

2. Yes the title Tan Sri stands above Datuk Seris and Datuks in honorary rank and protocol. Usually Tan Sris are conferred upon top Federal Civil Servants and retired Ministers and Menteris Besar. Tan Sri Muhyiddin received his when H.R.H. Sultan Iskandar from Johor was the Yang DiPertuan Agong and felt that all Menteris Besar and Chief Ministers should be accorded with the title. After His Majesty's tenure as The Yang Di Pertuan Agong, it wasn't continued.

Thank you for your participation.

TPJ said...

Tuan Ahmad Hashim,

From my knowledge, there is no such thing as a Datukship from Acheh. I'm quite sure of it because currently there is no Sultan in Acheh.

Rule of thumb; where there is a Republic, there should be no recognized title given out by a former Sultanate within it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hunky TPJ,

It's me again.I've waited so long for your next posting.Finally the wait is over.I have to confess that I'm a fan

Before that I want to apologize as I have googled about you and I am very impressed with your contributions especially on The Merdeka Day Celebration in Danga Bay back in 2007.

You have been in UMNO since 1989 and is somebody important in UMNO Bahagian Pulai.
You are a hardworking and vocal person.That is among the quality that I like in you.Personaly I think you should expose yourself more so that the people will know that UMNO does have capable leaders.

I don;t want to comment much about the topic as I have met with so many datuk's/dato's and I can saya that more tha half of them does not deserve the title based on their attitude and personality.

I just want to know when is my Patriot gonna get conferred Datukship for himself?

Very keen on it.Till we meet again TPJ.Take care and keep on your brilliant posting

Lady In Red

TPJ said...

Anonymous 11.17

Tidak ada title Dato yang mendapat alaun melainkan mungkin yang Dato jenis turun kemurun seperti Dato Najib yang mana dia mewarisi title Dato nya apabila bapanya Dato Razak Hussein meninggal dunia. Saya di fahamkan hanya Pahang sahaja yang ada jenis Dato seperti ini tetapi saya tidak begitu pasti jika ainya sahih.

Setahu saya, apabila Dato Najib juga kembali kerahmatullah, anak lelakinya yang sulong akan menjadi Dato secara automatic.

Setahu saya, bekas pegawai kerajaan tidak akan disuruh membayar untuk apa-apa majlis yang dianjurkan oleh pihak yang menganugerahkan Dato itu, tetapi yang saya pernah dengar Dato'2 jenis yang koprat ini di ingatkan akan hari jadi sepolan dan sepolan yang telah mencadangkan namanya itu. Ada juga Majlis2 Derma dan Makan Malam dimana orang2 kenamaan koprat yang telah di anugerahkan di minta membeli meja dan kemudiannya hasil dari kutipan tersebut akan disumbangkan kepada badan2 amal dan bakti.

Didalam kedua-dua senario, tiada paksaan dari mana2 pihak.

TPJ said...


Welcome back Sir.

I may be wrong but I think from my years of observation, the States that give out the most Datukships are Pahang and Negeri Sembilan.

TPJ said...

Lady in Red,

I apologize for the late submission of my latest article but I made up for it by posting a double whammy back to back. There'll be another one by tomorrow evening as well on the PM's rejection of Chin Peng's return.

I'm flattered that you looked me up and discovered the work I've done for the community in Pulai. I pray that I will continue to be inspired to serve passionately.

After a posting like this one, I doubt if I'll be conferred any title in the near future, though one was offered to me last year by a State ruled by a Yang DiPertua Negeri which I respectfully turned down.

A dream come true would be one from Johor though because that is where I serve and it is the most prestigious due to its scarcity.

Cheers and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Anonymous said...

Dear Patriot,
The article and its following comments are spot on.They are representative of the facts and the sentiments of ordinary people and the gentry.
Sigh ?
arjuna waspada
changkat lobak

TPJ said...

Changkat Lobak,

Coming from an aristocratic family with humble surroundings, I thought this needs to be said because it belittles the authentic Dato'(s) who've earned their medals through their long years of service to the State and Nation.

Thank youfor your comment.

pabloami said...

i wonder whether this lady dato' changes her driver every 2 weeks..and occasionally steals another dato's driver to drive her around to save cost? *wink* *wink*
btw..great postings TPJ!

TPJ said...


YUP! She's the one! She even tells people that she was decorated with the title more than ten years ago when she only got it just a few years back.

All Royal States giving out Datukships should creat a Commission to receive complaints about their receipients to evaluate if they carry themselves with honour and integrity which reflects the good image of the Palace that dishes it out.

Those who misbehave must have their titles revoked and advertised in the papers for all to know. Only then will people give a high regard on the State awards.

justice through law said...

Tengku,what bout datukship from mindanao and solo.can it be used in malaysia?

TPJ said...

Justice through law,

By convention, it cannot "be used" because the rule of thumb as I have said is that the Sultanate must be recognized by the ruling government of the particular nation as one with a ruling Monarch. However, since the number of Dato'/Datuks in town have become too many that the common people just don't care anymore, these foreign datuks get away with it. Most of them are megalomaniacs and just want to be recognized as people with titles. For your information, I'll address them however way they want and keep an arms length from them as long as it's not official and can be a liability to me. After all, I've seen local Datuks who behave like primates and have no respect for others. So this Dato'/ Datuk business is of no big significance to me.

An example of a foreign Datukship that is recogized here is the one conferrred by the Brunei Sultan. That is because the Sultan is recognized by his government as the ruling monarch.

Thank you for your interest Justice through law.

Johnny NGAU said...

You may find out that those States with TYT Yang Dipertua Negeri are nowadays using the spelling Dato' and Dato' Sri, e.g. recipients for the PNBS award of Sarawak and those honorific awards of Pulau Pinang.

TPJ said...

Johnny NGAU,

Thank you Sir for the clarification.

kim azzarein said...

It is nice to know Datoships have many different categories and classes. However the orders are as follow;
1. Tun 2. Dato Seri Utama 3. Tan Sri 4. First class datoships 5. Second class datoships. Federal datuks shares common rank as those bestowed by state rulers.All recipients do not earn nor receive allowances but are accorded priviliges such as VIP immigration lane at major airports etc. The general perception however is that titles awarded by states with sultans carry more prestige than those without as the latter are in fact common citizens / commoner whom hold high office.

Anonymous said...

My father, who is still alive, was conferred the Second Class (Commander) (Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Johor or DPMJ) in 1978 by DYMM Al-Marhum Sultan Sir Ismail Al-Khalidi ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Sir Ibrahim Al-Masyhur. Unless it's an official function or in a business setting... should you to ask him his name, he'd just say "Ibrahim".