KUALA KANGSAR: Wisdom in leadership as well as dynamic and energetic management are needed post-Covid-19 in planning recovery strategies that can create a meaningful impact on the people, especially in efforts to eradicate poverty, says Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah.
He said the wisdom of past leaders, who formulated poverty eradication programmes during the post-Independence era and when the New Economic Policy (NEP) was introduced, should be emulated and used as reference and a guide.
“Education was the most successful programme to achieve the NEP objectives of poverty eradication and restructuring society.
"The majority who managed to escape the shackles of poverty and the increase in middle class groups, especially among the Malay community, were achieved through educational programmes.
"Following the pandemic, the education platform, namely schools, universities and educational centres, were the institutions that were directly affected.
"Students in schools as well as various training and educational institutions are the casualties or victims who suffered greatly when the movement control order was enforced,” said His Highness.
Sultan Nazrin Shah said this at the investiture ceremony for state awards and medals, held in conjunction with his 65th birthday celebration at Istana Iskandariah here on Sunday (Nov 14), which was also attended by Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim.
At the ceremony, Sultan Nazrin presented awards and medals to 38 of the 339 recipients, while the second session of the ceremony for the remaining recipients will be held on a date to be approved by His Highness, subject to the Covid-19 situation at that time.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad, who leads the list of 339 recipients, was conferred the Darjah Dato' Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak award, which carries the title Datuk Seri.
Of the 339 recipients, 147 are recipients for the 2020 investiture ceremony while 192 are this year’s recipients; the ceremony was organised simultaneously owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his speech, Sultan Nazrin expressed concern over the state of education in the country which still lacks sufficient infrastructure to enable the new educational approach to be enjoyed equally by everyone.
“People in the rural areas face difficulties with home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) method due to slow and unstable Internet connection.
"Those in the low-income and poor categories face financial difficulties and are unable to provide their children with quality digital devices," he said.
As such, Sultan Nazrin said, it is the responsibility of the country to re-engineer policies and programmes on health, food supply, education, welfare and human resources, especially the over-dependence on foreign workers.
The Ruler said the country should be prepared and be brave to conduct audits to assess the strengths and weaknesses of its hardware and software assets as well as its human capital in terms of quantity, quality of expertise, experience and skillsets.
“It is important to speed up improvements so that the country is better prepared in the face of future crises.
“The crisis that hit must serve as an eye-opener to spark new thinking, formulate new methods, explore new approaches, place new priorities and introduce a new culture of managing the country," said Sultan Nazrin. – Bernama