Football legend among those conferred titles
PEKAN: A national football legend, a former New Straits Times reporter and a 1980’s crooner were among 158 recipients of state awards and medals at Istana Abu Bakar here yesterday.
N. Thanabalan, 74, who was a Malaysian striker from 1960 to 1970, former sports writer George Das, 70, and veteran singer Nassier Wahab, were all smiles after the ceremony, held in conjunction with the Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah’s 86th birthday. They were recipients of the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) award, which carried the title “Datuk”.
“I hope more sportsmen, especially veterans, will receive awards in recognition of their service (to sports and the nation),” said Thanabalan, who helped Malaysia score 3-0 in the final against then Asian powerhouse, Burma (now Myanmar) in 1968.
Das said the award was a recognition to sports writers. He was attached to the NST sports desk in September 1976, leaving in 1982 to be involved in public relations with sporting bodies like Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
“This is because I had been on the other side of the pen,” he said in reference to extensive experience in sports writing and sports-linked media relations.
Nassier, 55, said the award was a symbol of appreciation of artistes from the 1980s.
“For 32 years, I sang with the hope of earning a decent living and that my work would be appreciated,” said Nassier, who used to duet with singer Ramlah Ram for the album Sekali Aku Jatuh Cinta in 1988.
The awards were handed out by Regent of Pahang Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
DNC Asiatic Holdings Sdn Bhd chairman Datin Sri Feona Sim was among five who received the Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (SSAP) award, which carried the title “Datuk Seri”.
The others were former Bukit Aman Integrity and Standard Compliance Department director Datuk Jalaluddin Abdul Rahman, United Panel-System (M) Sdn Bhd directors Datuk Dr Loh Cher Xiong and Tan Choon Nan, and Elitesoft Asia Sdn Bhd director Ee Chang Ku.
Tengku Mahkota of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah conferring the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) award on former national footballer N. Thanabalan.