Kuala Lumpur, Oct 25 : Former Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has jumped to superstar Shah Rukh Khan's defence, insisting that he deserves a Datukship.
He also said that even local artistes should be rewarded for achievements that deserve awards.
In a post on his blog chedet.com on October 23, the ex-premier claimed that it was embarrassing for him to see that a controversy had erupted over Malacca's decision to confer Shah Rukh with a Datukship.
He claimed that they have earlier given the titled to many foreigners, some of whom "even contributed less than Shah Rukh".
Mahathir stressed that Shah Rukh was among the few names willing to make films here.
"I had previously tried to encourage Bollywood filmmakers to shoot here, to introduce the country as a tourism draw," Star Online quoted Mahathir as saying.
He added: "Shah Rukh responded to the invitation. Many of his films feature famous Malaysian attractions. Not only are we able to attract tourists, but filming here incurred huge expenses for the Bollywood companies. Locals and many others gained."
He further praised Shah Rukh for performing free of cost to help charities raise funds.
"His choosing to film here had encouraged other Bollywood film makers to do the same as well," said Mahathir.
Meanwhile, Bernama clarified that Shah Rukh would receive his Datukship on Nov 29, and not Oct 29 as was reported.