Never in her wildest dreams did road sweeper Chan Mun Thye think she would receive a state award.
On Monday (Jan 14), she proudly walked into Istana Besar Seri Menanti in Kuala Pilah to receive the Pingat Jasa Kebaktian (PJK) in conjunction with the 71st birthday celebrations of the Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Tuanku Muhriz Ibni Almarhum Tuanku Munawir.
Chan, 60, had been assigned to the City Centre Road Sweeper Unit of SWM Environment Sdn Bhd (SWM) for 16 years, and never thought someone like her would be honoured in such a way.
Narrating her story, Chan said her supervisor had recently asked her for a photograph but did not tell her it was for a state award.
“I gave it, not suspecting anything because I thought it was for my retirement, which was on January 4,” she said.
“Not long after that, I received a letter saying I will be getting the PJK. I was so touched, and, at the same time, very happy,” she told reporters when met after the investiture ceremony.
Chan said she was grateful to SWM, Tuanku Muhriz and the state government for giving her the award.
The mother of four said although she retired early this month, her employment had been continued on a contract basis as she wanted to serve the company for as long as she could work.
“I will start working again after Chinese New Year. I like my work because it is not hard to ensure the cleanliness of a place,” she said.
Meanwhile, state Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government committee chairperson Teo Kok Seong said the award was given by the state government as a mark of appreciation.
Two other SWM employees, machinery operators Abd Kadir Abd Ghani and Shaik Dawood AASM Shaik Mohamed, will also receive the same award at subsequent investiture ceremonies.
“This clearly proves whatever one's job, if it is clear that they have contributed to the state, then they are eligible for the award,” Teo said.