Thursday August 21, 2008 THESTAR
GEORGE TOWN:Olympic silver medallist Lee Chong Wei is to be made a Datuk by the Penang Government.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas would confer the Darjah Setia Pangkuan Negeri (DSPN) on Lee on Aug 30.
“The state will award the DSPN to Penang’s first Olympic silver medallist, Bukit Mertajam home-grown talent Lee Chong Wei,” he told a press conference yesterday.
He said Chong Wei had done Penang proud with his achievement.
“Even though Malaysians were disappointed that he failed to win the gold medal, we are proud of his achievement, which has brought joy to both state and country,” Lim added.
“The state government hopes that this recognition will spur him on to break more records and achieve greater success.”
The CM said the DSPN, instituted in 1976, was limited to 800 living persons, and was conferred on individuals of high position who had contributed unique and valuable services to the state.
Chong Wei’s eldest brother Chong Hoon, who attended the press conference, contacted the player on his mobile phone on loudspeaker mode.
Chong Wei, 26, said he was very happy and did not at all expect to get a Datukship for being a silver medallist.
“I thought that maybe, if I win the gold medal, I might be given a Datukship. But no, I never expected it for the silver and was very surprised,” he said.
In Butterworth, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Chong Wei’s success is testimony that Malaysia is a country with fair policies. He said anyone who has potential in this country will be given the opportunity to shine and achieve the highest success in sports or any other field, may it be education or business.
“If Lee Chong Wei can succeed, there will be many more Lee Chong Wei in the future because we give everyone equal chance.
“In other countries, the assimilation policy is adopted, but in Malaysia we integrate. This is our policy from the very beginning until today.
“Lee Chong Wei will remain Lee Chong Wei. He does not have to adopt a different name. And we also have Malays who can speak Chinese,” Najib said at a function where he handed Lee a cheque for RM300,000 for winning the silver medal at the Olympic Games and a mock cheque for RM3,000 being the pension reward the Government had promised for the feat. The pension payments begin from next month and is for life.