30 October, 2008

Raja Nazrin: Governments must not discriminate

The Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah said today that governments should not set down discriminatory laws or policies but must ensure inclusive development through empowerment.

"No segment of society must be disrespected, discredited and disenfranchised," he said in his address at the 21st LawAsia Conference here.

He said that no single group in any country should feel their contributions are unrecognized or unwanted.

While the Perak Raja Muda did not specify what laws or which countries he was referring to, his remarks comes amid a roiling debate over the country's "social contract" and the government's pro-Bumiputera affirmative action policies.

His advice also comes on the heels of the recent statement by the Rulers Council calling on all parties to stop questioning the social contract between Malays and non-Malays as it would cause unease.

In his speech today, Raja Nazrin called for the abandonment of what he called "the silo mentality where we only look up at what is happening and not beside us at what others are experiencing."

He made a case instead for policies which empower through inclusiveness.

"Only with inclusive development through empowerment can societies become strong," he said.

The lack of empowerment, he said, would lead to a sense of alienation and hostility that could result in "rash acts of violence."

"We cannot morally turn our backs on the fundamental responsibility of ensuring that all stakeholders in our society, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, have a place under the sun."

Among the prerequisites cited by Raja Nazrin for empowerment was for governments to strengthen the rule of law and to ensure greater political participation for citizens as stakeholders.

"It is only when citizens are also stakeholders will there be the widest sense of ownership of problems and challenges," he said.

"Abandon 'Silo' Mentality, Says Raja Nazrin" - Bernama

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