Raja Nazrin : The Challenges of Human Capital Development

This piece of sharing might come a little late but, it warrants this space. In the past four years. I have always made sure that I attend the public and adjunct lecture series organized by the university. It has been a routine for the university to arrange such sessions and they have invited many prominent speakers including Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Khoo Kay Kim and Tan Sri Mohd Ghazali Shafie to provide the students with better insights on national and global issues.

And this semester on the 5th of May we had a very special guest speaker - His Royal Highness, Raja Dr Nazrin Shah, the erudite, urbane Regent of Perak who has won the support of many with his common touch and willingness to speak candidly on a range of delicate issues. It was my first time witnessing a function or rather a lecture full of royal protocols. The presence of orchestra, huge yellow chair on stage, beautiful flower decorations, yellow carpets all the way, the traditional and musical welcome, thousands of people including lecturers, students, teachers, professionals, school kids, and not forgetting the protocols and police officers, all gave a real different aura to the ceremony. And, since I left my primary school years ago, I had never actually heard some of the rarely used array of Malay words such as patik, hamba, mencemar duli, titah, beta and baginda. May be that's what made the real difference in the hall this time, despite the presence of a royal figure on the stage. And, those words were for real instead of some examples on books. The way the MC conducted the ceremony with full blast royal protocols and the style of Raja Nazrin addressed himself as Beta was something totally strange for me to witness. Well, I have only seen those words on blackboards and school books and never heard it for real until then.

Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah has shared his views many times before on topics related to The Constitution, race relation, good governance, and role model, in the absence of any other leaders speaking on these topics so passionately. And this time, Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah delivered his text on "The Challenges of Human Capital Development". Raja Nazrin opines that the challenges of human capital development lie in enhancing knowledge, skills and abilities and in imbibing sound values, beliefs and attitudes.

His speech was short and sweet; right to the points. Let me give you some of his inputs from my notepad:

The process of human capital development works best where policies are strongly encouraging and supportive and not dispiriting and coercive. We must also be strongly oriented towards achievement. It is imperative that its linkage with advancement be an unshakable one.

Human Capital Development lies in active participation of individual themselves. Developing human Capital is also about building characters. It's the DNA of success, protocol and basis of establishing interpersonal relationships. And the value transformation towards human capital can be from family, colleagues, school, face-to-face and cyberspace. The Government and Monarch are also responsible in playing important roles in value transformation - The government must increase it degree of transparency and accountability should be demanded in public offices.

Money alone is not enough but, skillful human professionals. These concrete changes require more than concepts and we must give our knowledge institutions the critically needed space to work for it. In order to meet the challenges of Human Capital Development, we must empower Knowledge institutes or we may need to suffer the consequences. It's important to raise the number of knowledge institutes and increase the standards of local universities to match the foreign education institutes. We must close the gaps between them if the nation's vision is to increase size and standards.

Raja Nazrin suggested three goals -- learning culture, analytical culture and intellectual culture -- that we as a nation have to achieve in facing the challenges of human capital development.

  • People need to look at ways to instill values and beliefs that promote learning among Malaysians. A true learning culture includes overeating sense of questioning, welcoming new perspectives or different ideas and the ability to actively debate all kind of topics' Learning makes us change and changes make us learn - this is the whole cycle that could contribute to human capital development. Once knowledge is acquired, it motivates people to take action. With such we can improve the present and make the future better.
  • Malaysians needed also to develop an analytical culture so that they could be vastly more reflective and to understand the "what", the "how" and the "why" of the things they did. With such culture, people will consider methods with objective and will be able to draw a logical conclusion on anything the venture in. By developing analytical culture, it's important for us to review, debate and critic on issues and minimizes weaknesses
  • People needed to develop an intellectual culture though intellectuals were no longer highly regarded in most societies and even many rich countries were seemingly reluctant to support their work. If a nation is not intellectual, then the blossoming of knowledge would never occur in it. By acquiring knowledge we could create and creations are often come from those who ready to push their boundaries and limits. Also, learn to question, challenge and think. It is out of a sense of wonder or doubt with the conventional wisdom that new paths of knowledge emerge.

He concluded,

Providing the Knowledge institutes the needed space to meet the above goals will make Malaysians developed with their fullest capacity to benefit the nation and world.

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