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Malaysia opposition leader stripped of honorary title

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 4 (PTI) Malaysia’s controversial opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been stripped of the honorary title of ‘Datuk Seri’ by the Sultan of Selangor state for his “repeated questioning” of the royal institution.

Anwar had held the title, which is equivalent to Sir, for 22 years.

It was conferred upon him in 1992 by Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz, who was then the Sultan of Selangor.

According to a statement from the Selangor Palace today, Anwar’s title was revoked because he had repeatedly questioned the integrity of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and the royal institution.

The revocation of the Seri Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah award took effect on November 3.

“The Sultan, after consulting with the Selangor Royal Council, has decided that the honorary award which carries the title ‘Datuk Seri’ to Anwar Ibrahim, be revoked effective November 3, in line with the Sultan’s powers to confer the said titles as enshrined in the state’s constitution.

“The decision is based on Anwar’s repeated questioning of the integrity of the Selangor Sultan and royal institution in resolving the Selangor chief minister crisis, as well as his questioning of issues related to Islam,” said Sultan Sharafuddin’s private secretary, Mohamad Munir Bani. Bani added that the opposition PKR party advisor’s actions and behaviour showed he was no longer fit to hold the title.

Anwar, however, could still use the title ‘Datuk Seri’ as he had received awards which carries the title from other states such as Perak, Pahang and Negri Sembilan.

The controversial opposition leader was in March sentenced to five years in prison on charges of sodomising a male aide in 2008, after Malaysia’s appeals court overturned an earlier acquittal.

He has appealed the conviction in the Federal Court. Sultan Sharafuddin, who heads the Royal Council, has been known to be stringent in awarding and stripping of awards.

The sultan has over the years stripped several people of their titles for reasons including abuse, involvement in activities deemed to have tarnished the title and criminal activities.

In 2007, the sultan stripped Indonesian businessman Kenneth Chow of his title after he was charged with involvement in the submission of false information to a company.

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