More and more Malaysian parents are naming their babies after their Prime Minister. It seems that Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad is enjoying a popularity surge, with new babies being named after him.
According to the country’s National Registration Department (NRD), “Mahathir” and “Tun” are among the most popular names at the moment, with 420 people named “Mahathir” and a whopping 4,726 named “Tun.”
“If the baby is born when the country’s political climate is hot, then names of political leaders would be popular, similar to a child born during the World Cup,” says Jasri Kasim, the deputy director-general of the NRD. He noted that names of babies are often a reflection of the current national situation.
However, laws now state that only those descended from the Tun lineage can call their babies that name, as opposed to the past, when anyone could be named “Tun.”
Other names that are popular in the country are “Merdeka”, with 102 people who now carry that name, and, unsurprisingly, “Malaysia” with 129 people registered with that name. There are also 176 people named “Sabah”, 163 named “Johor”, 130 named “Perak,” 91 named “Melaka,” 60 named “Kedah” and 37 named “Pahang.”
According to Mr. Kasim, “The NRD has several standards which must be abided before parents can submit their names to the department, especially the meaning of the names, as some names may have different meanings to different communities.
The NRD does not stop parents from giving their children any name, but if the name affects the recipient, then the department will propose other suitable names.”
Less popular are the names “Sarawak,” with 12 people registered with that name, “Labuan” with 8, “Perlis” with 7, “Putrajaya” with 5, “Selangor” with 3, and “Kelantan” with 2.
Only one person is registered as “Pulau Pinang.” And as for “Terengganu,” well, nobody in Malaysia is named that…yet.