IPOH - The request by the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Nazrin Shah, not to be presented with souvenirs during official functions has been lauded by the public.
Most felt that the decision by the highly-respected Sultan was apt and that this should be made a norm for other leaders.
Perak Malay Hawkers and Small Traders Association president Datuk Omar Ahmad said he agreed with Sultan Nazrin's decision, describing some of the souvenirs presented to dignitaries as a "waste of money".
"Most of the time, the souvenirs are not necessary. Most of these won't be used, too. I think it's better to give souvenirs that are useful or spend on something else for those who really need it," he said in an interview here yesterday.
State leaders, including the Perak mentri besar, state exco members and department heads, should also follow in the Sultan's footsteps, Omar said.
"I think this is a good decision and one that is well-liked and respected by the people. I think most NGOs, including the association, will also follow suit," he said.
When chairing the 161st Perak Dewan Negara meeting last week, Sultan Nazrin Shah was reported to have requested that no souvenirs and gifts be presented to him or his consort Raja Permaisuri Tuanku Zara Salim during official functions.
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir had since said the state government would also follow the Sultan's lead.
A businesswoman, who only wished to be known as Melinder, said the Sultan's request showed that the Ruler always had the interests of the people at heart.
This should also be practised by leaders at federal level, Melinder said.
"Times are still bad. I think it is a wise decision not to spend unnecessarily on gifts, especially by government departments. Although they are a gesture of goodwill, most gifts given to dignitaries would only end up being set aside," she said.
Ipoh Hindu Devasthana Paripalana Sabah secretary M. Vivekananda said while presenting souvenirs to guests was part of Asian culture, people should not waste too much money on them.
"Sometimes, we want people to remember something from our event. It is part of our culture. We can, however, do away with expensive or any elaborate gifts," he said.