PETALING JAYA - Some Malaysians have taken to the Internet to express their doubts over whether Hong Kong movie star Jackie Chan deserves his datukship.
On Sunday, Chan was conferred the Panglima Mahkota Wilayah award by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah, in conjunction with Federal Territory Day.
Malaysians who questioned the datukship included Malaysian film director and actor Afdlin Shauki, who wrote on his Facebook page that datukships should be conferred to Malaysians whose accomplishments were a source of pride to the country.
Afdlin said that while he "loved" Chan, a datukship would not be worth much to an international star.
In a later Facebook posting, Afdlin invited Chan to come to Malaysia and help build the country's film industry.
Other netizens questioned the timing of the award, with the negative publicity surrounding Chan after his son Jaycee was recently jailed in China for drug offences.
But several politicians have come out in defence of Chan.
Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Aziz said the superstar can draw positive publicity to the country and boost the tourism industry.
He said the award presentation itself was good publicity for Malaysia, with the occasion covered extensively by the international media.
"I fully support giving the award to him," he said.
"He is a major figure in the Chinese film industry, who has a close affinity to Malaysia, so I am very sure he will help to promote our country and tourism industry," said Mr Nazri.
The actor-director shot parts of Police Story 3 in Kuala Lumpur in 1992, and attended the opening of the E-Village project in Cyberjaya in 2000.
Chan is the second foreign film star to be awarded datukship, after Indian movie icon Shah Rukh Khan and Indonesian singer Rossa.
Tourism Malaysia chairman Ng Yen Yen said Chan's datukship would help Malaysia as the star has a global fan base.
"Indirectly, he can help put Malaysia in a positive light, and one word of publicity from him would be worth more than 10 from us," she said.