Medals and Honours for Making a Change in the Community


A total of 566 recipients were bestowed with awards and honours in conjunction with the 81th birthday of Melaka’s Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob.

Among the recipients are The Star Publications Johor Bureau chief, Nelson Benjamin who was awarded the Bintang Khidmat Terpuji (B.K.T) and Rotary Club of Johor Bahru’s past president Datuk Seri Teo Shiok Fu JP who received the Darjah Gemilang Seri Melaka (DGSM) award, which carries the title ‘Datuk Seri’.

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Nelson Benjamin

Joining The Star Publications as a journalist based in Melaka in 1996, Nelson then went on to serve the HQ Office from 1997 to 2005 as a crime reporter. After 2005, he took up the position as the Assistant News Editor and Bureau Chief, Johor Bureau as one of the youngest bureau chiefs and is currently in his 14th year of service in the Johor office.

No stranger to the local political circle, NGOs and government bodies, Nelson has written countless news and lifestyle pieces, at times putting himself in harms way to deliver the truth.

In 1999, Nelson covered the Japanese Enchephalitis (JE) case in Negeri Sembilan. In 2000, he was assigned to the Sipadan Hostage Crisis in Sabah, Malaysia and in 2013, Nelson covered the human smuggling racket between Malaysia and Bangladesh. These are just a few highlights on Nelson’s illustrious career as a journalist.

On the international front, Nelson covered the Mumbai bombing in India in 2009, and he was there at the Smart Partnership Dialogue among African countries where the Malaysian delegates were headed and participated by Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in Uganda in 2009 and covered numerous news and business assignments in Japan, Cambodia, London, Vietnam, China, Russia, Indonesia, Germany, Hawaii, Uganda, India, New Zealand, Australia, Bangladesh, Turkey and Singapore.

Nelson has also covered the Singapore General Elections in 2006 and four of Malaysia’s General Elections in 2004, 2008, 2013 and 2018 apart from the numerous by-elections he has covered.

This multi award winning journalist who is part of Johor’s history and heritage deserves to be honoured in recognition of the valuable services he has provided to the country. Many don’t understand the sacrifices made by a journalist and the integrity burden that rests on their shoulders. They are truly the forgotten heroes who wrote the stories of other heroes but never about themselves.

Datuk Seri Teo Shiok Fu JP

Set out on a mission to help the community, Datuk Seri Teo Shiok Fu JP is the Executive Director of Tobe Property Sdn Bhd, Head of the Socio-Economic Bureau, Johor Bahru Hainan Association and the past president of Rotary Club Johor Bahru. Going beyond his capacity at the associations, Shiok Fu has continued many programmes he initiated with the club on his own.

Among the notable programmes he has carried out is the installation of a water filter system at SJK Tamil Ladang Kulai Oil Palm in Kelapa Sawit to provide clean drinking water for the 162 primary school students, he contributed 36 hand-held white boards (12” x 18”) for the teachers to use and donated 170 pencil cases to the students, visit to LEGOLAND Malaysia Resort for 32 children, aged from 6 to 12 years, organised the Rotary Club of Johor Bahru-OCBC Charity Walkathon at Dataran MBJB which raised RM551,000.00 for the Rotary Haemodialysis Centre and Palliative Care Association of Johor Bahru (PCAJB), organised a Christmas Party at Berkat Children’s Home for 37 children aged between 2 to 15 years’ old from 2 Children’s Homes, namely Berkat Children’s Home and Pertubuhan Kebajikan Puspanesam and donated a washing machine to ATL-Rotary Children’s Home.

Apart from children welfare, Shiok Fu also organised an environment programme dubbed “Tanjung Piai Cleanup & Pulau Kukup Sunset Stroll 2018” in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia, Malaysian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Perbadanan Taman Negara Johor and Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) at Taman Negara Tanjung Piai and Taman Negara Pulau Kukup.  There were 152 participants, mainly students from 4 schools in Pontian and Johor Bahru, who collected a total of 545kg of rubbish during a 1-hour exercise at Taman Negara Tanjung Piai.

For the elderly, he planned and executed a few mini medical camps with Persatuan Doktor-Doktor Johor with one of it being a camp for the 81 residents at the Persatuan Kebajikan Prihatin Kuan Yin in Taman Kempas Baru whereby the residents were attended to by 10 doctors and 2 medical students at the 3 medical stations set up in the Home’s compound.  They had their medical screening (blood pressure test and blood sugar test) done first, followed by medical consultation.  Whereas, another team attended to those who were bed-ridden in their rooms.  Food ingredients and basic necessities were donated to the Home as well.  Each resident were also presented with Tiger Balm ointment and medicated oils and face towels which were sponsored by Tiger Balm (M) Sdn Bhd and Eurostar Tractors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.

In his personal capacity, he donated a Digital Electrocardiograph (ECG) machine to the Persatuan Doktor-Doktor Johor (PDDJ) to help support and enhance their service to the community, especially their numerous medical camps in Johor. As the Head of the Socio-Economic Bureau, Johor Bahru Hainan Association, he organised a free talk on Heart Health called “The Silent Killer” by Dr. Ng Kim Fong, who is a Clinical Cardiology Specialist from Hospital Sultanah Aminah for the public.  This Heart Health talk was the first community service project organised by the Socio-Economic Bureau of the Johor Bahru Hainan Association which was set up this year to help improve the well-being of its members and the community.  Marrybrown Sdn Bhd. sponsored the food and drinks for the event.

Shiok Fu sees social work as a productive outlet to channel his passion to helping others. He does his part for the community, often without any form of recognition and usually declines to be named as he prefers to be the man behind the scene.

The list of programmes mentioned above are just a drop in the ocean of things he has done for many years. This truly inspirational individual deserves praise, respect and admiration. He never lags in motivation and is ever ready to lend a hand when needed.