The time has come for the introduction of new conventions and rules of good governance in modern-day Malaysia, and one of them is that Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers should not accept awards and honours from their own states or from the Federal Government during their tenure of office.
There should be a standing bar against Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers from accepting honours from their own states during their tenure of office so as not to put them in the invidious position of recommending their own awards or upgrades.
If a Mentri Besar or Chief Minister is to be honoured by the State or by the Federal Government, it should only be done after he has left office.
The practice of Federal Governments conferring awards on Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar should also be scrapped.
Such a practice does not enhance the reputation of the awards and could even compromise their dignities and honours.
The new Cabinet after the recent general election has created the ridiculous situation where a Minister is a Datuk Seri while a Deputy Minister is a Tan Sri, as in the Transport Ministry - with Datuk Seri Dr. Ling Liong Sik as Minister and Tan Sri Ramli Ngah as Deputy Minister. In the Home Ministry, the Parliamentary Secretary is Datuk Seri Abu Zahar Isnin while the two Deputy Home Ministers are just Datuks - Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin and Datuk Chor Chee Heung.
The practice of Federal Ministers accepting awards from state governments should also be terminated.
With such reforms in the honours system, ending the virtual automatic conferment of the award of Tan Sri to Mentris Besar and Chief Ministers (except in the case of Abu Zahar when he was Malacca Chief Minister and Nik Aziz, the Kelantan Mentri Besar), as well as the termination of the practice of Federal Ministers accepting state awards, during their tenure of office, honours and awards at both Federal and State would be enhanced in public esteem and respect.