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Malaysian Honours Titles

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Introduction

This article lists and describes the Malaysia Honours Titles for reference by University Staff.


Federal Titles

In Malaysia, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong grants federal title awards. Such titles are honorary and non-hereditary.

Tun

Tun has existed in the Malaysian society for hundreds of years. In ancient times, Tun was an honorific title used by noble people of royal lineage. Tun is a title inherited by the male descendants. Over time, the Tun title has become a title conferred by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong to the most deserving recipient who has highly contributed to the nation.

Tun is the most senior federal title awarded to recipients.

The title for the wife of a Tun is Toh Puan.

Tan Sri

Tan Sri is the second most senior federal title and an honorific award.

The wife of a Tan Sri is called Puan Sri.

Datuk

Datuk is a federal title that has been conferred since 1965. The wife of a federal Datuk is a Datin.

Please Note: A female conferred the title in her own right is formally known as "Datin Paduka" although the prefix "Datuk" is commonly used for women as well as men.

Individual states that have a head of state nominated by the respective state's legislature may confer the title of 'Datuk' to individuals. However, this is different from the title "Dato". The latter is awarded by individual states headed by a Sultan, and not a head of state nominated by the state legislature.


State Titles

In Malaysia, the Ruler and Governor grants state title awards. Such titles are honorary and non-hereditary.

Dato Sri

Dato' Sri or Dato' Seri is the highest state title conferred by the Ruler on the most deserving recipients who have contributed greatly to the nation or state. It ranks below the federal title Tun and is an honour equivalent to federal title Tan Sri. The wife of a recipient is Datin Sri.

Some rulers grant awards which carry highest titles unique to that state, such as Dato' Sri Utama of the state of Negeri Sembilan.

Women holders of Dato' Seri or its derirative would be called Datin Paduka Seri.

Datuk Seri

Datuk Seri is the most senior state title conferred only by the governor to the most deserving recipient who has highly contributed to the nation or state.

Please Note: Dato' Sri and Datuk Seri can be confused and Malaysia media and press may address Dato' Sri titleholders as Datuk Seri.

Women who have been awarded the title of Datuk Seri may use its feminine title of Datin Paduka Seri.

Dato'

Dato' is the most common title awarded in Malaysia. The wife of a Dato' is a Datin, except in Terengganu where they are known as To' Puan (not to be confused with Toh Puan, the wife of a non-hereditary Tun).

Dato' may only be conferred by a hereditary royal ruler of one of the nine Malay states. The wife of a hereditary Dato' is addressed by courtesy as To' Puan.

Female Dato's are called Datin Paduka as she is bestowed the title on her own right while her husband will not receive a title

Pehin

This title is mainly used in Brunei and Sarawak.

JP

JP or Justice of Peace rank below all Dato' or Datuk.

In Malaysia, Justices of the Peace have largely been replaced in magistrates' courts by legally-qualified stipendiary magistrates, however, state governments continue to appoint Justices of the Peace as honours.

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