By: Rosli Mansor Ahmad Razali
Renowned cartoonist Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid, 72, better known as Datuk Lat, has been selected to receive the 2023 National Journalists’ Day Award (HAWANA).
This prestigious award recognizes his contributions and services to the media industry, particularly as a respected cartoonist.
His critical touch and creativity in producing works through caricatures of various ethnicities, characterized by humour, wit, and addressing current issues, have made him deserving of this accolade.
The award was presented by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. In addition to the trophy and certificate of appreciation, Lat also received a cash prize of RM10,000.
Lat, born in Kampung Lalang, Gopeng, began his career at the age of 13 with his first work, the series ‘Tiga Sekawan’ (Three Comrades).
In 1968, at the age of 16, his comic series ‘Keluarga Si Mamat’ (The Family of Si Mamat) was accepted by Tan Sri A. Samad Ismail (the then Editor-in-Chief of Berita Harian) to be published in the weekly newspaper Berita Minggu, and it continued for 26 years.
His humorous portrayal of traditional Malay Islamic gatherings received a warm response, leading the then Editor-in-Chief of NST, Lee Siew Yee, and A. Samad to offer Lat a permanent position as a cartoonist on the newspaper.
His first task was to capture Malaysian culture in the cartoon series ‘Scenes of Malaysian Life’.
Other notable works by Lat include ‘Lots of Lat,’ ‘Lat’s Lot,’ ‘Kampung Boy,’ ‘Mat Som,’ and ‘Dr Who?’.
Lat has received various awards, including the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prize in 2002, which recognizes individual and organizational efforts in preserving culture and the arts.