Maldives’ Ambassador to Malaysia Mohamed ‘Nazaki’ Zaki was awarded the Dato’ title by Malaysia’s king Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah during a ceremony at the king’s palace on December 22.
Dato’ is the most common highly regarded title in Malaysia and is awarded to prominent figures who have made significant social contributions.
Zaki is the only Maldivian to have been awarded the title.
Expressing his gratitude, Zaki said he was awarded the title for his 23-year residency in Malaysia and his service as an Audit Committee member of the nation’s Islamic University.
Zaki also serves as the non-resident ambassador to Brunei, Indonesia and Thailand, according to Haveeru.
Zaki left the Maldives in the early 1990s due to political turmoil, returned in 1993, and received a life sentence in 2001 for his involvement in then-opposition newsletter ‘Sandhaanu,’ Haveeru reports.
Zaki was subsequently declared a prisoner of conscience. Faced with international pressure, the former government released him in 2005.
Zaki’s company, Nazaki Shipping, now operates in the Malaysia.