KUALA KANGSAR: The level of achievement on the agenda in shaping a united rakyat in a sovereign country is still vague despite 62 years of independence, says the Sultan of Perak.
Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah said the process of shaping such citizens with a national identity could not be delayed because it formed the guarantee for Malaysia’s continued sovereignty.
Malaysia, he said, had been blessed with numerous successes since independence, such as peace and prosperity, the right to choose its government, infrastructure development and economic opportunities as well as adequate food supply and guaranteed freedom.
“In the midst of our gratitude, the one level of achievement which is still vague and if not quickly tackled, can possibly lead to darkness, is the agenda in shaping a united rakyat to an independent and sovereign state, ” he said during an award presentation ceremony in conjunction with his 63rd birthday at Istana Iskandariah here yesterday.
Also present was the Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim.
Sultan Nazrin said slogans and rhetoric in the name of race and religion with extremist tones needed to be stopped quickly because these could inflame hostility and bring about destruction to the country.
“At this moment, the nation needs a progressive paradigm that will enable the people to feel at ease and be comfortable, not to harbour prejudices and suspicions but on the contrary, for them to have an open mind to appreciate diversity, ” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said every country would at times face various challenges and economic, political and social threats as well as those from external sources, which could threaten its stability and peace.
“Our closest challenge and threat, which is very critical and can quickly ruin the country, is the anger among the people stemming from racial and religious discord, ” he warned.
He said at this time, the country was in urgent need of a “diplomat” who could establish the feeling of brotherhood for the long term – one which was mature, patient, calm and rational – so that the “temperatures” could be cooled and the country be spared from disasters due to such discord.
Sultan Nazrin urged everyone to recall the warnings of former home minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, who in 1960, said that the challenge of communalism – which could divide the people – could not be combated using arms or be isolated as this grew inside every citizen.
“It is imperative that Tun Dr Ismail’s warning be remembered in the pervading mood, where the minds of the different communities and religions are seen to be more prone in seeking differences rather than similarities, more likely to draw a border of separation instead of finding a meeting point, ’’ he said.
At the ceremony, Sultan Nazrin also awarded the Darjah Kebesaran Negeri Perak to 19 recipients.
A second session involving 234 recipients is scheduled for Nov 16, also at Istana Iskandariah. — Bernama