KUALA LUMPUR – The Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah has suggested that Malaysian foreign policy and diplomacy continue to strive for better regional and world order.
In his royal address entitled “21st Century Diplomacy” at the Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR) here today, he said this could be done in concert with like-minded friends in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and beyond.
Noting that some of the elements were already in place, the sultan said in this context, possible adaptations of the realist paradigm could play a role.
“In my view, this order must be one that places the welfare of the human person, not the state, at the centre. The state is a vehicle and instrument for that purpose. The order must be based on the pursuit of peace, prosperity and justice for all, according to the enforceable rule of international law,” he added.
Emphasising that it must be an order premised on the principles of cooperative security and common security, he said such an order must seek to fully honour and enforce the provisions of International Humanitarian Law to protect innocent civilian populations.
His Royal Highness also shared an idea that, if well received, could contribute towards making a difference to the fruits of diplomacy in the 21st century.
“The idea is a research project that has a two-fold objective. The first is to assess the contribution that the realist paradigm, which underpins relations among states, has made to the management of global peace and security.
“The second is to consider whether there can be an alternative model that could be more relevant to the current strategic environment, and yield better results. This model could be a dramatically new one, founded on different assumptions and principles,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin, who is also IDFR Royal Patron, added that the model could also be a significant modification of existing realist principles, that could induce states to alter their behaviour in specific areas for the benefit of all.
Elaborating on the idea, he said the initiative would be a full-scale research effort that mobilised some of the best strategic minds.
“It (idea) would scrutinise the available literature on the subject and touch base with leading experts in the field. Among them would be figures from the realist, idealist and constructivist schools of thought,” he said.
Sultan Nazrin said the initiative would also consult policy makers and practitioners among some of the major, middle and smaller powers.
“A crucial constituency not to ignore would be international humanitarian organisations, leading peace advocates, environmental movements and religious leaders. The study would be best done under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) secretary-general. Its findings, however, should not be subject to UN approval,” he said.
Among those present at the royal address were Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir and Foreign Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim.
The IDFR was established on July 1, 1991. As the foreign ministry’s training arm, the institute conducts training programmes for Malaysian diplomatic officers, as well as officers from other government ministries and agencies. – BERNAMA