‘Awards are given, awards can be returned’

marina-mahathir-hasmahPETALING JAYA: Marina Mahathir today expressed support for her parents’ decision to return their royal awards to the Selangor palace, saying it was their choice.

“Awards are given, awards can be returned,” she told FMT, adding that she “absolutely” agreed with their decision.

She said however that she had no reason to return her own Datuk Paduka Mahkota Selangor award, which she received from the Selangor sultan in 1999.

“I do not have any quarrel with the sultan of Selangor. So there is no reason (to return the award) unless he demands it. It was his father that gave it to me.”

Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s decision to return the awards last week came in the wake of strong criticism against the former leader by Selangor ruler, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.

The sultan had first criticised Mahathir following the latter’s speech during Pakatan Harapan’s “anti-kleptocracy” rally in October, in which he referred to Prime Minister Najib Razak as a “descendant of Bugis pirates”.

The sultan further criticised and condemned Mahathir in separate interviews published by The Star and Utusan Malaysia.

The Selangor royal household are descendants of the Bugis ethnic group.

Mahathir however has maintained that his remarks were only against Najib and not directed at the Bugis community.

The late Selangor sultan, Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah, bestowed the Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor (SPMS) award on Mahathir in 1978.

In 2003, a month before Mahathir’s retirement as prime minister, Sultan Sharafuddin awarded him with the Darjah Kerabat Yang Amat Dihormati (DK).

Mahathir’s wife, Dr Siti Hasmah Ali, meanwhile received the Datuk Paduka Mahkota Selangor and Seri Paduka Mahkota Selangor awards from Selangor in 1983 and 1994 respectively.

She, too, returned her awards, saying she had done so to show her support for her husband.