KUALA LUMPUR: Entrepreneur Development Minister Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof said today that he had rejected the “Datuk Seri” title three times before deciding to accept it last week.
“For three consecutive years they wanted to give me (the award), but I said it wasn’t time yet. So when it was offered to me this time, I accepted it,” he said.
Redzuan was speaking after attending an event here.
The Alor Gajah MP was among the five first-time ministers, three deputy ministers, and four Melaka executive councillors (excos) who received the “Datuk Seri” and “Datuk” titles in conjunction with Yang di-Pertua Negeri Mohd Khalil Yaakob’s 80th birthday.
Redzuan said he turned down the award in the past because, among others, he felt that he was merely an “ordinary citizen”.
The awarding of titles to politicians and ministers was recently criticised by rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) who called for an end to the practice.
In a statement, it said honorary titles should not simply be handed out but rather awarded after a strenuous vetting process to those who had unquestionably contributed to society through “exceptional service beyond their call of duty”.
Yesterday, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng chastised his colleagues who accepted such awards, saying there was no need for them to do so as the party had to show they were different from those in Barisan Nasional.
The finance minister also said DAP’s elected representatives should place more emphasis on serving the people.
Lim added that the party’s central executive committee would be meeting to discuss members who accepted such awards.
Several DAP leaders were recently bestowed awards which carry the title “Datuk”, including Melaka DAP chairman Tey Kok Kiew, Sabah DAP chairman Stephen Wong and Sabah Youth and Sports Minister Frankie Poon.