King: Protect the innocent

Royal presence: Sultan Abdullah attending the ceremony at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur. — Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah says Malaysia rejects all forms of violence against innocent civilians in armed conflicts happening in various parts of the world right now.

His Majesty said this included bombings of hospitals and schools and the disruption of water, food and power to the people.

“As a sovereign and independent nation, it is our responsibility to reject forms of violence that are contrary to international humanitarian norms.

“Leaders, including those in the security and defence sectors, must adhere steadfastly to the principles of universal peace and humanity.

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“I am worried that if we do not apply these principles from now on, any dispute in the future will inevitably end in an armed conflict that will disregard all forms of humanitarian rationality,” Sultan Abdullah said in his royal address at the 13th Convocation ceremony of Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM) at the World Trade Centre here yesterday, Bernama reported.

Also present were Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, Chief of Defence Forces Jen Tan Sri Mohammad Ab Rahman and UPNM vice-chancellor Lt-Jen Datuk Mardzuki Muhammad.

The King said considering the ongoing armed conflicts, UPNM should be turned into a central hub in instilling an understanding and adherence to international humanitarian laws among society and future leaders of the country.

Sultan Abdullah, who is also the UPNM chancellor, said this was because international laws emphasised the humanitarian elements in controlling the adverse effects of armed conflict.

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“In this challenging era, the role of higher education institutions demands a new paradigm shift towards excellence as institutions supporting the people and the nation.

“UPNM, as a premier defence university in this region, is responsible for producing future leaders to ensure success and defend the strategic interests of the country,” the King said.

In this context, His Majesty said UPNM also needed to confront the challenges of the current geopolitical realities wisely and continuously explore and identify new areas within the security and defence landscape.

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A total of 1,490 UPNM graduands were to receive their scrolls at the convocation, including 11 receiving a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree, Master’s degree (93), Bachelor’s degree (986) and diploma (400).

UPNM also conferred an honorary doctorate on two former Chiefs of Defence Forces, namely Jen (Rtd) Tan Sri Azizan Ariffin in Aeronautic Engineering and Jen (Rtd) Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin in Strategic and International Relations.

Former United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Khalid Ghanim Mohammed AlGhaith was also conferred an honorary doctorate in International Relations.

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