KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia must continue to defend its multicultural values and background, as it remains one of the strengths that unite the country, says Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday Star, the Sultan of Selangor stressed that Malaysia is a melting pot of various cultures that has been preserved since Independence.
“I believe that it is good that we preserve all of the traditions and cultures of the various races, and it has become a melting pot that adds more richness to the civilisation of our country.
“But the main thing is, we all go in as one.
“This is for our mutual benefit and together we protect our beloved country as one,” he said.
Tuanku said the nation’s non-Malay citizens also ceased being “pendatang” (immigrants) after the social contract was agreed upon during independence in 1957.
However, many still use this term because they are ignorant of this fact, said Sultan Sharafuddin.
“I believe they don’t understand the social contract. If we understand the social contract, we will respect each other.
“If the rakyat knew and understood the social contract, they cannot be easily brainwashed, no matter how much the politicians bring up race and religion.
“There are no ‘pendatang’ as the Malay Rulers have accepted all, including the non-Malays, as citizens,” said Tuanku.
Sultan Sharafuddin also reminded the people that when the nation’s first prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra al-Haj, went to the United Kingdom to negotiate for independence, he did not go alone but was accompanied by representatives of the Chinese and Indian communities as well as the mentris besar of Selangor, Perak, Johor and Kelantan.
The Sultan explained that the Malays wanted Bahasa Melayu to be the official language and Islam as the official religion of the federation, while the other races wanted citizenship as well to preserve their ethnic identities and languages, and practise their own religions.
“It was based on ‘give and take’,” said the Ruler, adding that it was this “give and take” element in the social contract that formed the basis of the Federal Constitution.
The Selangor Ruler said many are unaware that the Rukun Negara and Federal Constitution depict the spirit of nation-building and consensus based on the social contract reached by the country’s founding fathers.
In the Malaysian context, the term social contract refers to the painstaking compromises among the various races on their mutual rights and privileges and their bargains with the Malay Rulers and the British for the creation of a democratic, monarchical, federal and non-theocratic system of government.
Sultan Sharafuddin also did not mince his words on matters touching on race, religion, and royalty (3Rs), stating that if it is not contained properly, it would risk tearing the peaceful country apart.
“On the issue of 3Rs, especially religion and race, if these two matters are intertwined, it will be very dangerous.
“It will create suspicion, and people will not get along.
“We are one, and it will not be good for the country,” said the Selangor Ruler.
Tuanku also slammed irresponsible quarters, especially politicians, who tried to fan the flames over 3R issues for their own political mileage.
“If the people don’t vote for them, they will stop exploiting race and religion,” added Tuanku.
“I think politicians should also fully understand our history and social contract before becoming candidates.
“They need to go to class to understand our laws and the Rukun Negara as well as the social contract, and only then can you function as an effective wakil rakyat (elected rep),” said Sultan Sharafuddin.
“They must also go for medical check-ups before being nominated, as there are cases where they die soon after the general election and a lot of money is wasted on by-elections,” added Tuanku.
His Royal Highness also cautioned those who resorted to attacking the royal institutions.
“If you make up stories and ‘fitnah’ to attack me, that is a no-no,” said Tuanku.
His Royal Highness also noted that it was important for all parties not to fall for such a narrative.
On a separate matter, the Sultan of Selangor reminded members of the state assembly on both sides to perform their duties professionally and not to waste a lot of time fighting.
“Having a strong Opposition is not an issue for me, but the state government must ensure that it does its job quickly and without delay; it is good for democracy.
“But for the government, they have to do their job quickly and effectively.
“They cannot just talk; they must execute what the rakyat need.
“Don’t delay in executing their service to the people.
“For the Opposition, don’t simply attack the government; you must use real facts and become a constructive opposition.
“If the government does not want to be attacked by the Opposition, please do your job well,” said the Selangor Ruler.