KUALA KANGSAR - Post-COVID-19 requires wisdom in leadership as well as dynamic and energetic management in planning recovery strategies that can create a meaningful impact on the people, especially in efforts to eradicate poverty, said Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah.
He said the wisdom of past leaders who had formulated poverty eradication programmes during the post-independence era and when the New Economic Policy (NEP) was first introduced, should be emulated and used as reference and guideline.
"Education was the most successful programme to achieve the NEP objectives of poverty eradication and restructuring society. The majority who managed to escape the shackles of poverty and the increase in middle class groups especially among the Malay community, were achieved through educational programmes.
"Following the pandemic, the education platform, namely schools, universities and educational centres were the institutions that were directly affected. Students in schools as well as various training and educational institutions are the casualties or victims who suffered greatly when the Movement Control Order was enforced,” said His Highness.
Sultan Nazrin Shah said this at the investiture ceremony for state awards and medals, held in conjunction with his 65th birthday celebration at Istana Iskandariah here today, which was also attended by Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Zara Salim.
At the ceremony, Sultan Nazrin presented awards and medals to 38 of the 339 recipients, while the second session of the ceremony for the remaining recipients will be held on a date to be approved by Sultan Nazrin, subject to the COVID-19 situation at that time.
Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad who leads the list of 339 recipients, was conferred the ‘Darjah Dato' Seri Paduka Mahkota Perak’ (SPMP) award, which carries the title ‘Datuk Seri’.
For the record, of the 339 recipients, 147 are recipients for the 2020 investiture ceremony while 192 are this year’s recipients and the ceremony is organised simultaneously following the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
In his speech Sultan Nazrin expressed concern over the state of education in the country which still lacks sufficient infrastructure to enable the new educational approach to be enjoyed equally by everyone.
"People in the rural areas face difficulties with the home-based teaching and learning PDPR) method due to slow and unstable internet connection.
"While those in the low-income and poor categories face financial difficulties and are unable to provide their children with quality digital devices," he said.
As such, Sultan Nazrin said it is the responsibility of the country to learn and re-engineer policies and programmes on health, food supply, education, welfare and human resources, especially the over-dependence on foreign workers.
The ruler said the country should be prepared and be brave to conduct audits to assess the strengths and weaknesses of its hardware and software assets as well as its human capital in terms of quantity, quality of expertise, experience and skill sets.
"It is important to speed up improvement measures so that the country is better prepared in the face of future crisis.
"The crisis that hit must serve as an eye opener to spark new thinking, formulate new methods, explore new approaches, place new priorities and introduce a new culture of managing the country," said Sultan Nazrin. - BERNAMA