KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 5 — Negri Sembilan prince Tunku Zain Al-‘Abidin Tuanku Muhriz today asked politicians to keep to manifesto pledges to avoid creating fertile ground for extremists that would make it much harder to achieve national unity.
“The politicians today can clear the air not only about their intentions to keep manifesto pledges, or how they have better ideas, but also the intrigue about splits, crossovers and underhanded deals.
“The pervasiveness of such chatter disrupts the duty of the government to implement its promises, increases cynicism among the people and causes a loss of confidence in our institutions,” Tunku Zain said in his special keynote at Workshops of the World Communicate (WOWComm) 2019 conference at Putrajaya Marriott Hotel.
He also stressed the importance of communication as a key component in connecting people as well as the memories, hopes and dreams across Malaysia’s diverse cultures, religions and generations.
The event, which was opened by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was Malaysia’s and the region’s first-ever conference to promote sustainability and implement zero-waste.
The 37-year-old prince, who is the founding president of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), highlighted the important role of civil society in nation-building.
He said when a nation was free from the electoral pressures of pandering to narrow constituencies, it was civil society that would lead the way in establishing a Malaysia Baharu that was rooted in the traditions of respect and diversity.
Tunku Zain, who is the second son of the reigning Yang di-Pertuan Besar of Negri Sembilan, Tuanku Muhriz Tuanku Munawir, also touched on some of the pressing social issues, including fake news and digital manipulation.
“Despite the technological advancements, we all have seen the potential dangers in terms of fake news, digital manipulation, trolling, and the wildfire of hateful or untrue messages in WhatsApp groups,” he said.
The public policy-making advocate also pointed out the dangers of climate change and called for new initiatives to combat the alarming issue.
“Though we have the power to do things more efficiently and cleanly than ever before, initiatives and incentives to tackle the climate emergency need to keep up too, whether it’s a push for eco-tourism, tax regimes that encourage renewable energy, or rewarding the many inspirational social enterprises that pursue sustainable best practice,” he added.
Moving forward, Tunku Zain noted that Malaysia still needed policies to be made and these laws to be obeyed.
Other components that were important to nation-building included healthy citizens, thriving businesses, enforcement of contracts, international treaties to be signed, athletes to be trained, culture to be nurtured, and the education of children.
One of the ways to do this was to ensure that there were laws to curb cybercrimes, while having health provisions that were world-class.
He also said that businesses must be competitive while international cooperation must include collective action on climate change, athletes must have top-notch facilities and training, and artists must be free to push creative boundaries.
Tunku Zain also hoped for an improved civic education system so that young citizens would learn how the institutions that govern their lives work.
“But of course, it must have all those elements that make a world-class education: independent critical thinking, worldliness, imagination, ethics, and a recognition that musicians and sportsmen make society as much as engineers and doctors do.
“It is this kind of society that can truly transition to Industrial Revolution 4.0 and also spur individual and collective climate action.”
WOWComm 2019 conference brought together business icons, captains of the industry, key government officials, industry influencers, media practitioners and enterprises together to discuss the importance of sustainable business practices.
Malay Mail and Bernama were media partners of the event.
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