Sultan Nazrin: Abdul Razak — a man who understood the vital importance of youth

Azril Annuar
Sultan Nazrin Shah delivers his inauguration address at the official naming ceremony of Blavatnik School of Government’s Tun Razak Lecture Theatre in Oxford University.

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 23 — Malaysia’s second prime minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, was a believer in nurturing the talent of the young and allowing them to play a critical role in government administration, said Sultan Nazrin Shah.

In his inauguration address at the official naming ceremony of Blavatnik School of Government’s Tun Razak Lecture Theatre in Oxford University, the Sultan of Perak and Deputy Yang diPertuan Agong lauded Razak’s foresight.

“History has given us many examples of people in authority who do not allow young talent to emerge, for fear of being overshadowed or having their power bases eroded. But not Tun Razak.

“Having been thrust into such critical nation-building roles very early in his career, he understood the vital importance of nurturing new talent and investing in the young.

“During the 1960s and 70s, many young men and women were drafted into the higher echelons of the political and administrative establishments who went on to play crucial roles in the development of the country,” praised Sultan Nazrin.

He pointed out that Razak, who is one of Malaysia’s founding fathers, believed that development should not focus entirely on material gains but also on human capital development in order to build an economically stable nation filled with happy, independent citizens.

Sultan Nazrin Shah at the official naming ceremony of Blavatnik School of Government’s Tun Razak Lecture Theatre in Oxford University.

The deputy Agong quoted some of his words of wisdom from 1963: “ on the human, cultural, and religious aspects of our lives, so that we can build up a Malaysia which is not only economically stable, but which is also a nation of people who are happy within themselves, self-reliant, and secure within their own sincerity of purpose.”

Sultan Nazrin also pointed out two of Razak’s major and enduring initiatives in his quest to achieve a plural society characterised by socio-economic fairness and unity within diversity.

The first was Rukunegara or National Principles, which came about in 1970 after the race-riots of May 13 1969. It was a national value system that the country still uses today.

“The second, in 1971, he launched the New Economic Policy (NEP), perhaps the programme for which he will be most remembered. It aimed to reduce ethnic, social, economic and regional inequalities through affirmative action.

“Indeed, the NEP has rightly been credited with restructuring Malaysian society, ending extreme poverty, and providing Malays and other disadvantaged groups with opportunities for higher education, modern-sector jobs, and upward mobility,” said Sultan Nazrin.

Related Articles Unity agenda still vague after 62 years, says Perak Sultan Oxford University probes ‘sale’ of ancient Bible fragments Sultan Nazrin: Malay rulers must be well informed to remain relevant