SHAH ALAM: The Sultan of Selangor wants politicians in the state, regardless of which parties they belong to, to put politics aside and refrain from bringing up contentious issues ahead of the 50th National Day celebrations.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said he did not want anyone to dampen the mood of the celebrations but to instead instil the Malaysian spirit.
“The celebrations are a once-in-a-lifetime event, keep the politics out for the time being. I want the people to focus on the common issues and be proud of Malaysia as one people.
“The politicians, regardless of their parties, can have all the time they want to talk about politics after National Day but for now, I do not want to hear any issues that can hurt the feelings of any community,” he said.
The Sultan said he wanted Malaysians to understand that the country's independence was achieved through the unity of all the major races.
He said that unity, through the sharing of political power, had continued until today and that it should be emphasised by the politicians.
“National unity, involving the Malays, Chinese and Indians, brought us independence and subsequently, through the unity of the other ethnic groups, helped us form Malaysia.
“Let no one forget that we achieved independence because of that. No one race could have brought Malaysia to what it is today,” he said in an interview.
The Sultan expressed his unhappiness over statements brought up by various politicians of late on race and religion, saying these were issues that no one should harp on.
The state head of Islam said Islam was the country’s official religion and its position must be respected.
“But I also want Muslims to respect the religions practised by other Malaysians.”
He said no politician or group should attempt to gain popularity by stirring up such issues, as Malaysia was a multi-racial country.
“This country belongs to all Malaysians regardless of their race and everyone has a right to feel as Malaysians. This should be emphasised, particularly as we celebrate the National Day together,” he said.
He also said that in such a short time, Malaysia had attained notable economic success because of the country’s political stability.
Malaysia, he said, was blessed and Malaysians had often taken for granted that stability because they had never gone through hardship, especially the post-Merdeka generation.
Sultan Sharafuddin also said that he has directed all government agencies and schools in the state to fly the national flag.
“The national flag can take precedence over the Selangor flag in this period,” he said.
He said Selangor wanted to stress the purpose of national unity by flying only the Jalur Gemilang.
The Sultan said that on Aug 27, all the palaces of the Selangor royal house would fly the national flag, which had never been done before.
Sultan expresses concern over host of issues
SHAH ALAM: Immediate action must be taken to check corruption, bureaucratic red tape, race problems, religious intolerance, the brain drain and crime, the Sultan of Selangor said.
Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah said Malaysia had achieved tremendous progress over the last 50 years.
Describing Malaysia as a blessed country, he said the people certainly had much to be thankful for but should not rest on their laurels as Malaysians also needed to take stock of what the country needed to do in the next 50 years.
“Corruption is still a problem, which the people are very concerned about, and more effective action needs to be taken,” he said.
Describing corruption as a cancerous cell, the Sultan said if graft could not be wiped out, it should be checked effectively.
He also took to task government agencies that continued to slow down approvals for foreign investors, saying the lackadaisical attitude of some government servants had affected the investment momentum.
“They must change their mindset because delays mean escalating costs and lost job opportunities, which may even lead to corrupt practices,” he said.
The Sultan said he was upset because the mindset of some people had not changed, saying he feared investors may move to neighbouring countries which were very competitive in attracting investors.
Selangor, he said, was one of the country’s most important states and he needed to emphasise this.
In a strongly worded interview, the Sultan said he had given Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Khir Toyo a deadline for applications after the end of an investment promotion trip.
He acknowledged the Federal Government had set up the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (Pemudah) to fast-track procedures and transactions between the Government and private sector.
“That is good but more needs to be done because the feedback from investors is that there is a greater need for a bigger push. Time waits for no one. We do not want investors to be discouraged from investing in Malaysia, as our neighbouring countries would also be willing to accept them.”
The Sultan also expressed his concern over the country’s brain drain, saying talented young people were leaving the country.
“No one, irrespective of his race, should be denied any opportunities. I am sad to see good people being lost to other countries,” he said.
He said Singapore was the greatest benefactor and that even the Singapore National Library was designed by a Malaysian.
In another case, he said, a highly qualified Malaysian academic was not accepted by local universities but was invited by the National University of Singapore to head a department.
The Sultan feared talent from the tourism and hospitality sectors would be affected when the island republic’s integrated entertainment resorts opened.
On race relations, he called for the young to have friends from other races, saying this was important.
He said Tunku Abdul Rahman was very particular about national unity and as the nation celebrated Merdeka, no one should forget his legacy of insisting on racial harmony.
The Sultan urged the people in Selangor to reject any form of racial and religious intolerance.
“Islam respects other religions and other religions must also respect Islam,” he said, adding multiracialism must be instilled at primary school level.
“If there is a need to re-evaluate our school system, then our authorities must do so to promote better racial harmony,” he said.
On crime, he said the police needed support from the people as they lacked manpower and facilities to fight crime.
The Sultan said he had asked the Selangor state government to install more CCTVs as a way to check crime.
He said he was aware Selangor had the highest crime rate because of the influx of people from other states and foreigners to work in the state.
On the environment, he said the state had planted over a million trees while the palace had committed itself to planting 5,000 trees on its grounds.
“The environment is our concern and will remain so. Tree replanting is essential,” he said, adding that tree-planting efforts in Bukit Jelutong were commendable.
The Sultan said he was also upset with the use of his name by unscrupulous people for securing state awards or low-cost houses.
“I am disheartened by such people because Selangor does not sell state awards, that is clear, even to the people.
“But I am glad that the people in Selangor have taken the trouble to call the palace to verify claims from such dishonest people,” he said.
The Sultan said the people could call his private secretary Datuk Mohamed Munir Bani at 03-5519 4242 or e-mail email@example.com to check.
He said the palace believed in transparency and would be pleased to get feedback from the rakyat on developments in Selangor.