Unesco Director-General Irina Bokova has paid tribute to Putrajaya for its firm stance against violent extremism.
Calling Malaysia a country which helps to advance education for peace, Bokova said Unesco shared its vision of an inclusive society that gained strength from diversity.
She said under Prime Minister Najib Razak’s leadership, the government had taken a strong stance against violent extremism through inclusion and education.
This, Bokova said, was considered by Unesco as one of the most effective, long-term preventive measure against forces which threatened to divide societies.
She said Malaysia’s National Education Blueprint 2013-2025 could be an example to other countries.
Praising Malaysia for its respect for diversity, Bokova said this was reflected in the choice of Kuala Lumpur to host the new Regional Counter-Messaging Communication Centre, to be established under a Unesco programme.
She said this was also in line with Najib’s call for a Global Movement of Moderates against Extremism.
She added that Malaysia, along with Indonesia, had encouraged nationwide discussions on religious teachings to promote tolerance, respect and mutual understanding.
Bokova said this very “spirit of dialogue and openness” echoed Unesco’s efforts to promote peace and dignity through education, culture and the sciences.
She also made special mention of Permata, whose patron is Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor.
Bokova said Permata stands as an outstanding example of inclusion, reaching out to the most marginalised segments in society, from an early age, to provide better opportunities for children.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Rosmah was set to receive the “Lead by Example” award on behalf of Permata, at an event co-organised by Bokova.
It was subsequently reported by the New York Times that the Permata award had been cancelled over concerns on Permata’s source of funding.
Later on, Najib’s Press Secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Ahmad said Rosmah and the Malaysian Government had never applied for the award in the first place and Permata’s funding was transparent.
He said neither Rosmah nor Permata would accept the award to avoid further distraction from work focused on Malaysian children.
FMT Reporters Online