The success of our nation depends not only on economics, science, and information and communications technology, but also on how we can build a society which is morally, spiritually and mentally strong. File pic by FAIRUZ ZAIDAN.

One important aspect of the 11th Malaysia Plan that should be addressed is enhancing social development based on noble values, which can help strengthen human capabilities and the role of family institutions in achieving a balanced society.

The success of our nation depends not only on economics, science, and information and communications technology, but also on how we can build a society which is morally, spiritually and mentally strong.

This can be a bulwark against the many social and moral issues besieging our society. Our nation’s future depends on a strong and cohesive moral foundation. Despite the many accomplishments, the social progress of our society is lagging.

It is time we addressed the country’s social capital. All Malaysians must take responsibility for declining values and social standards.

High crime rates, the unresolved drug menace, corruption in the public and private sectors, indiscipline in schools, truancy, and a culture of bullying and violence all point to an urgent need to address the country’s social capital.

Unless and until we succeed in doing this, no amount of economic development can strengthen our social fabric in the face of new challenges.

Social ills are the symptom of an unhappy society. Many factors have been said to cause social ills, including the lack of parental supervision, lack of moral and civic education, urbanisation and the oft-discussed delinquent behaviour of teenagers.

It is time the nation developed an effective and sustainable blueprint to address the multifarious social ills in our fast- changing national landscape through a special task force with the full participation of all stakeholders.

I am pleased to note Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has also advocated a new social agenda for the nation.

Counselling programmes for family institutions and the promotion of noble values are in great need today.

When a nation progresses, the family institution could be the first victim with children not getting enough attention and guidance, leading to social ills, especially among teenagers.

Parents must focus on the quality of family life and take steps to instil in children basic moral values needed to build the foundations of a strong, stable and cohesive society.

When modernisation and economic development take place, problems such as declining human values and moral degradation occur. To arrest the situation, a massive programme to inculcate values is required at all levels for children, youth and teenagers. Values such as obedience, filial piety, respect for elders, patience and tolerance, truth, responsibility and honour need to be emphasised.

Strong human values, along with strong families, are key to building a peaceful and stable community which will lead to a strong and stable nation. The need for this has never been greater.

TAN SRI LEE LAM THYE

Senior vice-chairman

Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation

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