Published on: Sunday, October 06, 2013
Kota Kinabalu: Patriotism and loyalty should be instilled among the people to protect Malaysia's sovereignty, said Sabah Yang Dipertua Negeri Tun Juhar Mahiruddin.
He said the struggles and sacrifices of past leaders in uniting the people would be in vain if the people did not appreciate the country's sovereignty which brought peace and harmony.
"The intrusion in Lahad Datu opened our eyes and taught us to be alert against foreign elements trying to capitalise on our moments of lapses," he said at an investiture ceremony, held in conjunction with his official 60th birthday at Istana Negeri, Saturday.
At the ceremony, state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor led a list of 823 recipients of state honours and medals with the highest award of Seri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK) which carries the title 'Datuk Seri Panglima.'
Also receiving the SPDK awards were State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun, Malaysian Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and YTL Corporation founder Tan Sri Dr Yeoh Tiong Lay.
Among the recipients present to receive the Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK) which carries the title, 'Datuk', were United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation Secretary-General Senator Dr Lucas Umbul, Elopura Assemblyman Au Kam Wah, Sindumin Assemblyman Ahmad Bujang and State Education Director Jame Alip.
Also present were two widows of warriors killed in the battle against terrorists from southern Philippines in Semporna on March 2.
Sumiati Suarah, widow of Sergeant-Major Bahrin Hamid, and Marlina Utan, widow of Sergeant Salam Togiran, were present to receive the Ahli Darjah Kinabalu (ADK) posthumously awarded to their husbands.
The widows could not hold back their tears when they received the honorary medals.
They were moved by memories of the tragedy in which their husbands died while defending the country's sovereignty.
"I want to thank the Sabah Government and the Yang Dipertua Negeri for the medal to my late husband," said the mother of four. "I accept the medal with grief but am proud of my husband's sacrifice," she said, when met after the award presentation ceremony at the Istana Negeri here.
The two heroes were awarded the Ahli Darjah Kinabalu (ADK), the state's fourth highest honorary medal, in conjunction with Juhar's 60th official birthday.
Marlina also thanked the Federal Government, non-governmental organisations, and the people of Malaysia for their concerns for the family's livelihood.
Sumiati, a mother of two, said she was grateful for the medal conferred on her late husband.
She said the medal was a symbol of the Government and people's appreciation for her husband's deeds.