World

New Malaysian King calls for racial harmony

KUALA LUMPUR : Malaysia installed its 16th King in a ceremony yesterday that adhered to royal customs and tradition.

In his speech, Pahang's Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin, 60, who took his place as Malaysia's King, cautioned that racial harmony must be preserved.

"Playing with fire will burn not only oneself but also the whole village," he said.

He promised to do his best to promote unity and tolerance among people of all races and religions, Bernama reported.

"I will put the people first; respect the old and honour the young. I will express all this with great humility," he said, welcoming the government's effort to strengthen unity through the establishment of the Consultative Council for People's Harmony.

The King is expected to rule for five years under Malaysia's unique system of rotation among the nine royal states.

His installation came six months after the surprise abdication of his predecessor, Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad also stressed harmony in his speech at the installation ceremony.

He said that cooperation and tolerance among the various religions, races and cultures has been the key to the country's success, reported The Star.

"Malaysia will fail if there is no unity among the rakyat. Although there have been some small incidents, the overall unity among the people is stable and good," he said.

"The efforts to increase unity among the people does not rest on the shoulders of the government alone, it is a collective responsibility."

WORLD