“Power does strange things to many people.
In Malaysia, there are three distinct tiers of power we are subjected to and exposed to daily. The hereditary type, the political kind and the conferred sort.
The first is by way of lineage, your blood line, and sits right at the top of Mount Mahameru. Above law even. This is a non-negotiable birth right that entitles you to be the overlord of your state or country depending on the written rules in your constitution lest you abdicate.
The second, is by offering your unequivocal service to your country and by virtue of your status and portfolio, it lends you limited powers to steer the country and decide what is good for the people. You and all your cohorts are part policy maker, part administrator, part maintenance manager, part salesmen and part approving body. And because there are many tiers and divisions, each regulating a certain function, the machinery has churned out countless little napoleons capable of turning hopes into nightmares, not unless you can close one eye to bigotry, or wait till thy kingdom come for your application, whatever it is, to be processed.
Situations such as these could only be overturned by ‘Orang Besars’, powerful aristocrats endorsed by government or king which gave rise to the demand for conferments and awards, given yearly by the Agung, Sultans and government of the day to the deserving who has contributed significantly to the smooth running and dignity of our country be it by way or service, cash or kind.
Currently the most sought after award are the Tan Sri or Datukship for civilians which is equivalent to ‘Lordship or Sir’ in the British context. These awards exudes a certain halo over your head, an aura as you float and walk and alludes one a certain edge, respect and leverage over others. Thus, the egocentric rich seeks this as a form of power and the eccentric wannabes try to earn them, because it paves the way for more opportunities.
But titles such as these had been seen to have landed onto the lap of many questionable if not dubious characters. Recently a Datuk went to beat up a security guard and upon investigation, were found to be a gang leader. So how did he earn an award? The same way he beat up the guard? Many of them do not possess the disposition to carry well the titles given and in the end, brought shame, unnecessary attention and publicity worldwide to our doorstep, no thanks to their unscrupulous conduct and behaviour.
This begs the question. Who proposes and seconds their applications, and how are they linked to the recipient? And how does the approving body regulate and function? Does their induction classes include moral studies jammed down the throat of every school going children nowadays?
The latest case involves yet another Datuk who slaps two kids in a hot pot restaurant. And the two kids so happened to be the son of an influential Datuk and the daughter of a prominent Tan Sri. And the whole incident was captured on video by a Puan Sri. Such drama leaves a distaste in our mouths one wonders how many Tan Sris and Datuks are we hitting, if one throws a stone at the crowd? Why are there so many around? And should a review panel be formed if not a kpi to ensure they do not slack in their conduct? And if this is going to be the case, then should the police be more stringent when they apply for gun licences? I think that is not too much to ask for.”