KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on Monday (Mar 11) called for racial unity, while urging the government to take into account the wishes of the people when making policies.
In his inaugural speech to parliamentarians since he ascended the throne on Jan 31, the king noted that various efforts have been undertaken to strengthen unity among the races.
"In this regard, calls for unity must not remain mere slogans but have to be followed through by sincere actions," he was quoted as saying by The Star.
The king said that Islam, as the religion of the federation, should be thoroughly understood by everyone, regardless of race and religion.
"Islam is not an exclusive religion for a particular group, but is a universal way of life and brings blessings to the world," he said.
"Firm action should be taken against activities and elements that could affect national unity and harmony," he added, according to the Star.
Racial politics have again returned to the foreground, with the United Malays National Organisation and Parti Islam Se-Malaysia accusing the Pakatan Harapan government of selling out Malay rights and Islam.
PEOPLE WANT ‘CLEAN, TRANSPARENT AND RESPONSIBLE’ GOVERNMENT: KING
The king also said the government should take into account the wishes of the people when drawing up policies. This was because the people now wanted a responsible government which listened to their opinions and aspirations, he said.
"The people today not only wants development but also a government that is clean, transparent, responsible as well as upholding the sovereignty of the law to take the nation to greater height.”
He expressed appreciation for the government's efforts to introduce the National Anti-Corruption Plan and draw up the relevant laws to strengthen governance.
The king noted that the government is aware of how rising cost of living could hamper national prosperity. He said the people should have confidence in the various measures taken by the government although the effects might not be felt immediately.
At the same time, he said the people should also be realistic in making demands on the government and continue to improve themselves.
“My government will surely be with the people at all times to face the challenges,” the king said.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad later said the king’s speech was very comprehensive and stressed the importance of racial unity. The diversity of religion in Malaysia must be respected by all levels of society, he added.
Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali said: “I feel very happy as his speech truly reflects the aspirations of Malaysians and this proves that he is close to the people and understands their needs.’’