Sultan orders a freeze after attempted sale of state awards

By Lourdes Charles and Nelson Benjamin, TheStar

JOHOR BARU: An angry Sultan Ibrahim Ibni Almarhum Sultan Iskandar has ordered a freeze on Johor state awards this year in the wake of the attempted sale of such awards, including Datukships.

Palace sources said the Sultan had met with the Johor Council of Royal Court and told them there would be no investiture ceremony this year as he had yet to complete a year as the ruler.

“Sultan Ibrahim also ordered the Council to stringently vet all people shortlisted for any state award in future before they can be considered.

“His Majesty wants all nominees for awards to undergo an interview by the council as well as scrutiny by the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC),’’ the source added.

Palace sources also said that the Sultan was upset upon learning that a man believed to be a distant member of Johor royalty has been arrested for allegedly attempting to sell a state award to a doctor.

“The Sultan has repeatedly reminded the public that his awards are not cheap. They are priceless,’’ said the source.

The palace source also said that the Sultan wanted the man, an Engku in his 40s, to be dealt with in accordance with the law.

It is learnt that the Engku was arrested together with another man several days ago following two reports lodged against them.

Police investigations into the Engku showed that he had approached a doctor claiming he was able to get him a Pingat Ibrahim Sultan Pangkat Kedua (PIS-II) for a fee.

The doctor who initially paid a deposit of RM3,000 became suspicious and sought his friend’s help.

The Engku, together with several men, allegedly assaulted the doctor’s friend.

The doctor’s friend, who suffered a fractured hand, lodged a police report.

State police Chief Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Shariff said police have obtained a four-day remand order to facilitate investigations.

Police have classified the case under Section 148 of the Penal Code for Rioting as well as Section 420 for cheating.