JOHOR BARU - The Johor Palace respects the decision by former Johor Corp (JCorp) chief executive officer Tan Sri Muhammad Ali Hashim to return the state awards.
In a four-paragraph statement released here yesterday, Johor Royal Council secretary Datuk Abdul Rahim Ramli said the statutes and ordinances provided for a Johor Datuk, for whatever reasons known to him, to resign as a member of the order by returning the insignia to the Chancery.
He said Muhammad Ali's decision had been conveyed to Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
"The Sultan wishes to extend his best wishes to Muhammad Ali on his future endeavours,'' Abdul Rahim said in the statement released by the Information Department.
Muhammad Ali, who is Malaysian Islamic Chamber of Commerce president, returned his three state award medals to the Palace on Dec 27.
They were the Setia Mahkota Johor, Darjah Paduka Mahkota Johor (DPMJ) and Darjah Datuk Seri Paduka Mahkota Johor (SPMJ).
Muhammad Ali, who helmed JCorp - the state investment arm for 28 years - was conferred the DPMJ and SPMJ, which carried the title Datuk, by then Ruler Almarhum Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail on April 8, 1984 and 1996 respectively. His Tan Sri title comes with a federal award.
In a statement issued on Dec 28, Muhammad Ali said his decision to return the awards came after he wrote a letter to Abdul Rahim on Dec 18 to offer his explanation on his article "Menuntut hak, menebus masa silam" published in Sinar Harian on Dec 2.
Abdul Rahim had said the article's content could create a negative perception of the Johor royal institution and current Ruler Sultan Ibrahim.
Muhammad Ali said he had had no ulterior motive or intention to portray a negative image of Sultan Ibrahim as claimed by Abdul Rahim.