Malaysia pays lip service to Rukun Negara

June 11, 2017

Indonesians are united by Pancasia, Malaysia pays lip service to Rukun Negara

By Dr. Chandra Muzzafar

http://www.freemalaysiatoday. com

The decision of the Indonesian government to make Pancasila Day, which falls on June 1, a national holiday is part of a renewed endeavour to protect and enhance the national ideology in the face of current challenges.

Image result for Pancasila

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has reaffirmed his total commitment to the Pancasila by calling upon all Indonesians to embrace its values, which, in his words, “is in every drop of our blood and every beat of our heart. (It is) the cement of our national unity. I am Jokowi. I am Pancasila”.

The Pancasila is part of the preamble to the Indonesian Constitution of 1945.As a manifestation of renewed commitment, Jokowi has issued Presidential Regulation No 54 /2017 to establish workshops all over the country to teach the public values embodied in the Pancasila.

The significance of these values will be brought to the fore by linking them to the eradication of poverty, the closing of the gap between the rich and poor and the implementation of social welfare programmes.

In general, the five principles of the Pancasila – the belief in one God; humanity; unity; consensus; and social justice – will be translated into concrete policies and programmes which impact upon the lives of the people.

A number of groups have come out in support of Jokowi’s effort. These include Islamic mass movements, professional bodies and political parties.

The Muhammadiyah, Peradi (Indonesian Advocates Association) and the Democratic Party of Struggle are among them.

In fact, the largest Islamic grassroots movement in the world, the Nahdlatul Ulama with 93 million members, had even asked for the banning of the Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia, regarded by many as an extremist group misusing Islam, because its “divisive politics is against the Pancasila”.

It is remarkable that there is such a strong commitment to the Pancasila among the people in the nation with the world’s largest Muslim population. It should be remembered that even in 1945, when Indonesia proclaimed its Independence, there were religious leaders who argued for an “Islamic State”.

But there were also other prominent freedom fighters with impeccable Islamic credentials who supported Pancasila as an inclusive, progressive idea that would best serve the interests of the new nation.

The Pancasila, they insisted, was in harmony with the substance of Islam. One of them was Wahid Hasyim, the father of Abdul Rahman Wahid (Gus Dur) who became the fourth president of the Indonesian Republic in 1999.

Gus Dur, himself a religious scholar of repute, was one of the most eloquent defenders of the Pancasila against its so-called “Islamic” critics.

If we compared the situation surrounding the Pancasila with the challenges confronting the Rukun Negara, we would be struck by at least three differences.

Image result for Malaysia's Rukun Negara
The Man who makes a Mockery of Rukun Negara–The Corrupter

One, the ulama in Malaysia are less than lukewarm towards our national ideology or philosophy. With the exception of a couple of scholars, the vast majority of religious personalities, including those in academia, have not endorsed the initiative by the group of activists that is seeking to make the Rukun Negara the preamble to the Malaysian Constitution. And yet, the five objectives of the Rukun Negara, like its five principles, resonate with the substance of Islam.

Two, unlike Indonesia, hardly any professional group has expressed its support for our preamble initiative. This includes the legal fraternity and academic associations. Our initiative has not even reached grassroots communities in Malaysia.

Three – and perhaps the most important difference – our national political leadership has been nonchalant towards the move to make the Rukun Negara the preamble to the Federal Constitution.

Of course, it does pay lip-service to the Rukun Negara now and then but the truth is that our national philosophy has had no role in the formulation of public policies or laws since the early eighties.

There has been no mass public awareness programme on what the Rukun Negara’s objectives and principles mean to the people and their lives. Even opposition political parties have not bothered to respond to our invitation to dialogue on our initiative.

If these groups have reservations about our initiative, we would be happy to clarify them. In fact, we have elucidated a number of issues raised by certain individuals and groups.

To reiterate: making the Rukun Negara the preamble to the constitution will not undermine any of the provisions of the constitution, especially those pertaining to the Special Position of the Malays and the indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak or the status of Islam as the religion of the Federation.

To assuage these fears, we have even proposed that at the end of the preamble, a clause be introduced which states explicitly that the preamble will in no way affect any of the present provisions of the constitution.

More than addressing misgivings, we have since the launch of our initiative on Jan 23, 2017, sought to convince Malaysians why making the Rukun Negara the preamble to the Malaysian Constitution is crucial.

As a nation, we need goals and guiding principles that help bind us together, that we can all identify with whatever our differences.

This is particularly critical at a time like this when ethnic, religious, class and even territorial divisions are becoming more pronounced. The Rukun Negara is the only document we have with lucidly articulated goals and principles that can serve as a unifying platform. However, to play this role, it has to be anchored in the constitution.

We should realise that compared to Indonesia, the divisions in our society are in a sense potentially more perilous. The Indonesians have responded to their challenge by re-dedicating themselves to the Pancasila. Can we afford to procrastinate?

This is why we, the few hundred Malaysians who have endorsed the move to anchor the Rukun Negara in the constitution, hope that the Conference of Rulers would support this initiative and request the federal cabinet to take all the necessary steps to make this a reality.

Once the legislative process is completed, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong should announce to the people that the Rukun Negara is now the preamble to the constitution. After all, it was the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong, who on Aug 31, 1970, presented the Rukun Negara to the nation as its guiding philosophy.

6 thoughts on “Malaysia pays lip service to Rukun Negara

  1. Yes, with Najib Razak, the corrupter of our ethical and moral values as Prime Minister, Rukun Negara is confined to dustbin. We have Hadi Awang, Zakir Naik ( whose Indian passport has been withdrawn so that he can be given a Malaysian passport), Ibrahim Ali, and other ulamas pushing Najib into a bind so that Malaysia can be a mess. Tok Cik and the rest of his lot are now in the minority.–Din Merican

  2. Quote:- “the ulama in Malaysia are less than lukewarm towards our national ideology or philosophy”

    The Rukun Negara, however great, is made by imperfect man, whereas the Holy Quran is from Allah the Perfect. No comparison.

  3. The only Rukun, Jibros and ‘their’ deputy abide by, is found in the heavily armed special forces secret teams sworn to protect them and carry out orders without question. The former has 5 and the deputy has 3.
    So disappearing Mongolians, pastors, supposedly shia NGO leaders and so on will not be found?

  4. The religo and racist hypocrites are assured by Ahok’s loss and guilty verdict of the courts. Mass over-entitlement Vs grand principles, grand principles seldom win. The experiment of dangers of govt called America even has loss significant ground on some of their grandest principles.

    Over entitlement never get derailed by political will and leadership. It gets derailed by necessity mostly by collapse.

    Listen to even young reformist leaders arguing Mahathir and Muhiyiddin given possible PMship in change. The desperation against mass addiction to entitlement shows the impossibility.

  5. I personally would prefer to suggest putting the context of why Rukunegara was written the way it is in 1970. What happened prior to 1970? I felt this effort quite meaningless if we don’t try to tell our great grandchildren of what took place. Welayu. We have indeed layu, and will continue to layu, whether or not we get to put the Rukun back into the Negara, if the Negara were still there for the next generation.

  6. Since the 80s, with the rise of narrow, divisive and damaging politics of Islam, Malay/Muslims’ extremism and an idiot proclaimed the country as an ‘ Islamic State ‘ and implementation of ‘ Islamic ‘ administration, the country is headed to a troubled country eg. Pakistan, Sudan and many failed, corrupt and violent Muslims countries.

    No one can control these violent, extremist and terrorist Muslims. Their only source of authority is from the Koran, interpreted to their desire and objectives, and they do not need approval from any person or authority to carry out their violence or other actions in the name of Islam.

    Only a secular state, with freedom of religion, could mimimise Islamic extremism and violence and their destructive radicalisation.

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