Sultan breaks protocol, helps Malaysian Indian award recipient

December 13th, 2009 - 5:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, Dec 13 (IANS) Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah of Selangor broke protocol to steady 84-year-old Malaysian Indian Sundraledchimy Maheswaran as she walked back to her seat after being conferred a title akin to Ladyship.
Walking backwards on a thick carpet after receiving the title was difficult for Maheswaran. This was where Shah stepped in to break protocol and helped her.

The royal monarch, who is also Selangor state’s constitutional head, stepped down several times to confer awards to recipients who had difficulty in reaching the dais or returning to their seats.

He also helped steady a few recipients who almost lost their footing in the thick rug covering the steps of the dais, New Straits Times reported Sunday.

Maheswaran said she was touched and honoured by the sultan’s gesture.

“I was prepared to walk up the steps but I was a bit worried that I would trip as walking backwards is difficult,” said the college mate of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and a schoolmate of his wife, Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali.

Maheswaran received the Dato’ Paduka Mahkota Selangor (DPMS) award, which carries the title “Datuk” for men and “Datin Paduka” for women.

For her, walking up to receive an award was a repeat performance after 43 years.

In 1956, she received the Sultan of Selangor’s badge from Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s grandfather, Almarhum Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah. She was then serving at the Klang district hospital.

Maheswaran proudly wore the old badge at the investiture ceremony, held Saturday in conjunction with the sultan’s 64th birthday.

“I am proud that the sultan recognises what we (doctors) do,” said the Pantai Hospital consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist who still drives to work.

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