The introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP) in 1971 was a magical touch which radically transformed the image and confidence of the Malays, said the Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah.
He said the NEP did not just give more opportunities for the Malays to participate in the flow of mainstream development but also encouraged the growth of youths, especially from the rural areas, with a strong foundation of race and religion.
“The NEP not only benefited individuals and families but also injected a new confidence and pride into the Malays.
“Malay youths filled Malay secondary classes in bigger numbers, held high positions in their careers, especially in the public sector, enjoyed influence and underwent a cultural transformation, including in the workplace and home,” the Sultan said when officiating the Muzakarah Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah discourse in Ipoh today.
Also present at the discourse with its theme of strong Malay roots and upholding Islam, were the Raja Permaisuri of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim and Perak Menteri Besar Zambry Abd Kadir.
Sultan Nazrin added that the biggest success of the NEP was its education programme with more Malays entering tertiary institutions and becoming successful in various careers.
“Malay girls who reached 15 years of age were no longer confined to the kitchen while waiting for marriage proposals but pursued their education and mastered various skills, gaining progress in their careers,” he said.
At the same time, Sultan Nazrin said, the programmes held for new students were modified to be more beneficial.
“From ragging, singing, entertainment and dancing, the orientation programmes now include prayers and religious talks.
“Islamic values have been incorporated not only in schools and universities but also in the civil service, teaching profession, police, army, judiciary, right up to the Palace,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin who is also the Financial Ambassador of the Malaysian International Islamic Financial Centre (MIFC) said Malaysia is always described as a modern Islamic nation which is developed, progressive, peaceful and moderate.
“Islamic leadership in Malaysia is highly respected. The wisdom of the Malay leaders in implementing programmes for the development of the people and the country has been acknowledged throughout the world,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said Malaysia’s leadership in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); FELDA, Tabung Haji, the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) are some examples of the contribution of Malay leaders.
“Some of them may not have the image of an ulama, have never been seen standing on the pulpit to give a sermon, never led a congregation during prayers, never quoted from the Quran or hadiths in their speeches.
“However, they played a major role in upholding Islam in current times,” Sultan Nazrin said.– Bernama