BANGI, 10 March 2009: The Raja Muda of Perak, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, has called on the Malays to safeguard their culture and tradition as these are crucial to their survival as a race.
He said that the Malays already had a unique identity, one “which is tied by customs, knotted by language and coated by religion.”
He also called on them not to take for granted Malay privileges as provided for in the Federal Constitution, namely in clauses pertaining to Islam, the institution of the Rulers, Malay customs, Malay language and special privileges.
Raja Nazrin said the Malays’ survival hinged on religion, language, culture, traditions and the Rulers’ institution which had given them identity.
It would be unfortunate, therefore, when attempts were made to undermine the traditions and institution, he said.
“It would be to the great detriment of the survival of the Malay race if traditions and institutions are no longer respected and seen instead as antithesis to rational thinking, modernity and science.
“How unfortunate would it be for a generation to view traditions as ‘an ignorant practice, inconsequential and dogmatic’,” he said at the launching of a book, The Malays, at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) here.
The book is written by Prof Anthony Milner, an Asian history professor at the Australian National University.
Also present were the Raja Puan Besar of Perak Tuanku Zara Salim, UKM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Sharifah Habsah Syed Hasan Shahabuddin and Bernama chairperson Datuk Seri Annuar Zaini.
Raja Nazrin said that in facing globalisation and the current political dynamics in Malaysia, the Malays could be caught at crossroads and faced with two possibilities.
The first, he said, was that they would continue to survive and thrive, and emerge as a supreme race in a globalised world.
“The second possibility, God forbids, is that they would be swept away by the tide of globalisation and become weak, devoid of any cultural roots.
“In the end, the Malays would remain only as a name in folktales,” he said.
It was therefore important that the Malays avoid committing the folly of Pak Kadok, a character in the old Malay fable who lost his village because of his foolishness.
Nazrin also cautioned the Malays to be wary of what he said as “radical attempts” to undermine their strength.
Raja Nazrin also expressed appreciation to Prof Milner’s recognition of the Rulers’ institution as an important heritage of the Malay race.
He said that the interest shown by non-Malays in carrying out studies on the Malays showed that the race continued to attract interest among intellectuals abroad. — Bernama