KUALA LUMPUR: The failure of modern higher education to instil integrity and discipline has led to corrupt leaders and hampered the country’s development, says Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah.
Quoting the late Royal Professor Ungku Abdul Aziz Ungku Abdul Hamid, Sultan Nazrin said that developing the characters of scholars is as important as pursuing knowledge.
“In contrast to the dominant trends in higher education today, and in line with the classical Islamic tradition of Adab Talibul ‘Ilm, Ungku Aziz held that the development of the character traits of scholars is as important as the pursuit of knowledge itself.
“This was farsighted on his part,” he said after launching the book Ungku Aziz’s Vision of Development: A Muslim’s Experience in Modern Times by Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia (Ikim) fellow Dr Muhammad Syafiq Borhannuddin here yesterday.
Sultan Nazrin said the development of the nation needs holistic progress in all areas that looks beyond economics and infrastructure.
“We must be clear that a nation’s development is linked not only to how much money we have, or to how many modern buildings and highways we can construct.
“There are countries with the finest state-of-the-art buildings that money can buy, yet where unemployment and poverty – in the sense of economic as well as spiritual poverty – are still widespread,” the Ruler added.
He said that the development of a country must also include the spiritual aspects and in the view that religion can also be the motivation to drive progress.
“All of this shows that, in Ungku Aziz’s holistic vision of development, religion need not be an obstacle to economic progress.
“Rather, it becomes a motivation that can help expand the frontiers of development – provided it is understood in its more comprehensive and civilisational sense,” Sultan Nazrin said.
The book is a tribute to the late Royal Professor who passed away on Dec 15, 2020. Also present at the launch were Ungku Aziz’s daughter and former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Na’im Mokhtar and Ikim director-general Dr Mohamed Azam Mohamed Adil.
The event was followed by a forum of panellists who were directly involved in Ungku Aziz’s work including Prof Ulung Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri and Prof Azizah Amzah.