KUALA LUMPUR: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan being conferred the traditional Malaysian title of 'Datuk', akin to the British knighthood, will help draw more Indian tourists to the Southeast Asian country, says a Malaysian Indian businessman.
Chandrakant Avalani, president of the Malacca Indian Chamber of Commerce, said that tourist arrivals from India have been rising steadily over the last few years and linking the actor to Malacca would benefit both the state and the nation's tourism industry.
"Now more people from India will know where Malacca and Malaysia are. This will surely help boost tourism," he told reporters at Little India, one of the numerous shopping malls teeming with people ahead of the Deepavali festival.
Shah Rukh is to be given the honour in Malacca next month, but the move had stirred up much controversy with many questioning whether he really deserves it. Critics have asked what Shah Rukh has done for Malaysia to deserve a Datukship. They also took up cudgels on behalf of local artistes.
The star has conveyed his acceptance of the traditional award, but he is set to pay for his airfare to Malacca.
Shah Rukh had shot the film "One 2 Ka 4" and a and a song sequence from his blockbuster "Don" in Malacca.
Malaccan authorities says Shah Rukh's shoot in Malaysia had benefitted the country immensely, giving it global publicity without any money being spent.
6 months ago