The Sabah State Honours Enactment, 1963, para 4(1) says that, amongst others:
There shall be four Grades of the Order namely:
First Grade – Sri Panglima Darjah Kinabalu (SPDK)
Second Grade – Panglima Gemilang Darjah Kinabalu (PGDK)
Then, para 4(2) says, amongst others:
The maximum number of persons appointed to the First Grade shall be one hundred and fifty, to the Second Grade nine hundred and fifty …
Sometime later the number was increased, then on 22nd April 2009, the enactment was amended to increase the number of PGDK recipients from 1,050 to 1,200, because “there was an increase in the number of people eligible.”
Does Sabah really have the most number of Datuks in the country, which spawned the joke about hitting a Datuk in the head if one threw a stone at random at a congregation of people here?
We look at other states first.
Probably the biggest numbers ever seen happened in 2004, when Melaka, with a population of around 700,000 awarded 84 Datukships. In the same year, Pahang bestowed 92 Datukships (some reports say 109). The Opposition Leader then claimed that Malaysia would have 3,000 new Datuks from state honours alone for that year.
In 2007, Negeri Sembilan bestowed 53 Datukships.
In 2006, Penang made 66 Datuks.
As for Sabah:
Someone estimated that based on these numbers, probably 2,300 persons have been awarded a Datukship by the state of Sabah since 1963.
In contrast, for the state of Sarawak:
In 2008, quite a few.
In 2007, only 11 were awarded the Datukship.
In 2006, only 5.
So it seems Sabah isn’t too generous, nor too stingy compared to the other states.
I read that after Malaya’s independence in 1957, only 5 of the 15 cabinet ministers were made Datuks. Even the finance minister then Tan Siew Sin, only had a Justice of Peace. Of course he was later made a Tun. The Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman himself was never bestowed any award.