DAP’s New Rule: No More Accepting ‘Datukships’

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DAP leaders are in politics to serve the people and not seek fame, titles or positions, says Anthony Loke.

  • DAP puts its foot down on accepting titles for its politicians
  • Rebukes elected reps over acceptance of awards

The DAP central executive committee (CEC), which met on Oct 15 has reiterated that DAP elected representatives and local councillors should not accept titles and awards during their period of active political service.

DAP national organising secretary Anthony Loke said in a statement today that elected representatives and local councillors should only receive titles and awards after retiring from active service.

He said the Melaka and Sabah DAP had been “informed and categorically told of this decade-old CEC understanding in July” and that the CEC had expressed its displeasure over not being consulted on the offer of titles and awards.

Recently, two DAP Melaka state assemblymen, Tey Kok Kiew and Wong Fort Pin, received the Darjah Mulia Seri Melaka (DMSM) award which carries the title ‘Datuk’ while two Sabah DAP ministers – Stephen Wong and Frankie Poon – and Assistant Minister to the Sabah Chief Minister Jimmy Wong were awarded the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK), which also carries the title ‘Datuk’.

Loke said: “The CEC reprimands any DAP leader who denied and claimed ignorance of this decade-old understanding. Leaders who try to justify receiving awards without informing or awaiting directives from the party leadership have no respect for the party.

“Consequent to this CEC resolution, a written advisory will be issued to all elected representatives and local councillors to reiterate DAP’s position of not receiving titles and awards during active political service. Any offers of titles and awards should be referred to DAP central leadership.”

The statement did not mention if any action would be taken on the DAP assemblymen who ignored this.

Loke said DAP leaders were in politics to serve the people and not seek fame, titles or positions.

Firdaus Latif

“DAP recognises the importance of titles and awards as a way to appreciate the contributions of towering figures in society and, therefore, advises its elected representatives and local councillors to receive these honours after they retire from active service, presumably after they have contributed to the society at large.”

Earlier, Malaysiakini reported DAP assistant national treasurer Ngeh Koo Ham as saying that the CEC will now vet all offers of titles to its elected representatives before any decision on whether to accept them.

Elected reps who are offered ‘Datukship’ and other titles must first refer them to the CEC, in keeping with the party’s policy that its members can only accept such awards after completing a tenure of public service.

“The party formally (made) a decision,” he was quoted as saying about the CEC meeting last night.

“If special circumstances arise, when whoever is offered a title, they should refer it to the CEC for a decision.”

He said this applied to those serving as members of Parliament, state assemblymen and local councillors.

Ngeh, who has the title ‘Datuk’ given to him in 2008, said others in the party should follow his example where he referred the offer to the CEC.

Ngeh was still ticked off by the late DAP chairman, Karpal Singh, for accepting the title.

Ngeh, who is now Speaker of the Perak legislative assembly and Beruas MP, said those who had been given awards should be allowed to keep them as the decision that all offers of titles first be referred to the CEC was only decided last night.

Ngeh also insisted that this guideline was not a sign of disrespect against the monarchy.

Previously, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng also criticised the attitude of party leaders who accepted the Sabah and Melaka state awards before demonstrating their commitment and performance to the rakyat.

Related report: Oct 15, Criticisms and Guilt over Accepting Datukship