SULTAN of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah yesterday stressed the need for rulers to remain neutral and not favour any political group, especially during the upcoming general election,
The sultan, who is recuperating after undergoing medical treatment, said this in his speech which was delivered by the Regent of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah at a luncheon in conjunction with Sultan Azlan's 85th birthday celebrations at Istana Iskandariah here.
Present was Raja Puan Besar Perak Tuanku Zara Salim.
Raja Nazrin said Sultan Azlan had pointed out that the rulers must exhibit their neutrality so that they could act as an arbitrator in the event of any conflict in the state.
The sultan, who has been following political developments in the run-up to the May 5 general election, reiterated that the royal household was apolitical.
"He places his trust in the wisdom and experience of the various institutions, particularly the Election Commission and the security forces, to ensure the election takes place peacefully," said Raja Nazrin.
Sultan Azlan, the Regent said, also urged the leaders of political parties to be more responsible when campaigning and avoid raising sensitive issues which could incite the people.
"Issues such as religion, race, culture and language should not be exploited by political leaders to the extent that it affects unity among the people."
Sultan Azlan also reminded the people to protect the country's sovereignty and independence.
"He also prays that the country and its people will continue to be blessed and protected by Allah," added Raja Nazrin.
The sultan and his consort, Raja Permaisuri Perak Tuanku Bainun, also thanked the people for praying for their wellbeing.