Governments can no longer afford to formulate policies, laws and regulations on a discriminatory basis and in an ethical vacuum, says the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Nazrin Shah.
The regent listed down five areas that could help empower Asian nations – strengthen the rule of law; have greater political participation; have a change of values and beliefs; beef up technology, particularly information and communication technology; and emphasise on education for it breaks the chains of oppressive traditions and extremism.
“One of the essential tasks of Asia’s leaders is to convert residents into citizens and citizens into stakeholders.
“It is only when citizens are also stakeholders that there will be the widest sense of ownership of problems and challenges.
“In order for Asian countries to weather this storm, governance systems must be broadly based and consultative to minimise non-cooperative behaviour,” said Raja Nazrin.
He added that no segment of the society must be disrespected, discredited or disenfranchised.
“No group should feel that their efforts and contributions go unrecognised and unwanted.
“We must abandon the ‘silo’ mentality where we only look up at what is happening and not beside us at what others are experiencing,” Raja Nazrin said at the 21st LawAsia Conference.
Bringing this about is one of the greatest challenges of governance today.
For this reason, he said there was a case for empowering through the principle of inclusiveness.
“Only via inclusive development through empowerment can societies become strong and we can achieve lasting outcomes,” he told lawyers, judges and students of law in his keynote address.
He said that not empowering citizens could lead to “a deep sense of alienation and hostility” that could cause “rash acts of violence that fracture societies”.
“This is bad and insensitive politics.
“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.
“Closing two eyes to the problem does not help build the unity and integration required to face the economic and social turmoil that is likely to result.
“Empowerment is a precondition for an integrated and progressive Asia. Interestingly enough, the forces that can connect Asia also have the potential to empower its people.
Raja Nazrin says governments cannot formulate discriminatory policies