None other than Jackie Chan was conferred the Panglima Mahkota Wilayah, which carries the title Datuk, during a ceremony on February 1 at Istana Negara in Malaysia. According to The Star Online, the 60-year-old Hong Kong action star (whose birth name is Chan Song Kang) received his Datukship in a suit and black songkok, a traditional Indonesian cap, on Sunday in conjunction with Federal Territory Day.
When the name Chan Song Kang was announced, many among the audience and recipients were startled to see the star, who was seated in front, beside popular preacher Ustaz Kazim Elias, walk up to the dais to meet the King.
[…] Some of the surprised guests were heard murmuring: “Is that Jackie Chan?”
Chan was among 71 other recipients who were awarded the honorary title of Datuk on Sunday.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs explains:
Many distinguished persons’ academics, businessmen and politicians have honorary titles conferred on them by the King of Malaysia or the Sultan of their State. These titles such as Dato’, Datuk or Tan Sri are equivalent to the British ‘sir’ and should always be used in written or verbal addresses. For example, Dato’ Razak bin Osman would be used in the written form but in introducing him, you would refer to him as Dato’ Razak.
Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan is also a Datuk and was the first Indian movie star to be conferred the title. Film actress Michelle Yeoh is just one step above Chan, and was awarded the title Tan Sri back in 2013.
A number of people took to social media to question what, exactly, Chan had contributed to Malaysia to be bestowed a Datukship, but FT Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor stepped up in Chan’s defense to say: “Jacky [sic] Chan is an actor with many fans in Malaysia and can promote Malaysia especially Kuala Lumpur and is deserving”.