IT must take a lot for any Malay ruler to strip someone of a royal award.
Today, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim learnt that the Seri Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (S.S.S.A.) award given by the Selangor palace in 1992 has been revoked. The royal award bestows the title "Datuk Seri" but of course, Anwar possesses similar awards from other royal households.
These royal awards mean a lot to any politician or businessman, and for civil servants who have served the country. Especially if it comes from one's own home state.
But the simple fact is we come into the world without titles – just plain old Encik, Cik, Mr and Miss – and when we finally leave the world, all this worldly baggage has to be left behind – titles, wealth, wives, houses and mansions, super yachts and the latest sports car.
In the past, others have also been stripped off their awards, including the former MCA deputy president Tan Sri Lee Kim Sai, who lost his Selangor award in 1987. And probably in the future, some others might also lose such awards.
People are still people without titles, and it goes the same for politicians or any leader for that matter. A royal award is meant as a rare recognition and being revoked of one is a royal rebuke.
So, it is within the prerogative of the Selangor Sultan to revoke the royal award which his father had issued but also within the prerogative of Malaysians to have opinions and views about him and other rulers, however pungent they may be.
After all, what does any man or woman leave behind as their name or legacy once they are dead and gone? Their deeds and misdemeanours, if any.
In Anwar's case, as is for any other Malaysian politician, their life and legacy is from what they do to serve and lead Malaysia, a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary democracy.
Their ultimate recognition will be from all Malaysians, not the few. – The Malaysia Insider