Rukun Negara can reduce racism, says PM

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at the launch of the 50th anniversary for the Rukun Negara. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has urged all Malaysians to embody the principles set out in the Rukun Negara for greater racial and religious harmony.

During the launch of the 50th anniversary for the Rukun Negara, he said embodying the five principles may reduce instances of online and even offline racism.

“With the borderless world and rapid development in information technology, we are often faced with new issues that may at times test the rakyat’s level of unity and harmony.”

He then explained that in the past, there were many reports about actions or postings on social media such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter that had offended other races.

“Even though investigations were carried out and strict action was taken against those who breached the law, these actions have affected badly the unity and harmony of our society,” he said, adding that he believed this situation could have been avoided if citizens embodied the five Rukun Negara principles.

Elaborating further, he said the first pillar, “Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan” or the belief in God, was important for the multiracial and multireligious society in the country.

“The Federal Constitution has acknowledged Islam as the federal religion and guarantees the rights of every individual to practise their own religious teachings peacefully and harmoniously.”

He said if this was respected, there will be religious harmony in the country. “There would no longer be parties who would question the position of Islam or the rights of others to practise their own religious teachings.”

On the second pillar, “Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara”, or loyalty to the King and the country, he said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong was the country’s sole ruler and symbol for unity. “When we pledge loyalty to the King, we are also committed to the efforts to maintain unity and harmony in the country.”

Thirdly, speaking on the supremacy of the Federal Constitution or “Keluhuran Perlembagaan”, he said the constitution guarantees the rights of all Malaysian citizens.

“As long as we respect these rights, that provide for fair and just treatment of all citizens, the country’s harmony will always be preserved,” he said.

On the fourth pillar of the Rukun Negara, Rule of Law (Kedaulatan Undang-undang), he said nobody was above the law.

He added that appropriate action will be taken, without fear or favour, against individuals going against the law, including those causing racial tensions or threatening racial unity.

On the fifth pillar of the Rukun Negara, courtesy and morality (“Kesopanan dan Kesusilaan”), he said it was “un-Malaysian to be rude or to be inconsiderate”.

Muhyiddin expressed confidence that Malaysian society will be the most harmonious in the world if everybody remained courteous to one another, in person or online.

Meanwhile, he also suggested that education on the Rukun Negara be made a national agenda.

“The national unity ministry and the communications and multimedia ministry can lead in the implementation of this agenda through various programmes, with cooperation from NGOs, the private sector and civil society,” he said.

The formulation of the Rukun Negara, established in 1970, was a result of discussions by the National Consultative Council, headed by former prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, to encourage racial unity following the May 13, 1969, racial riots.

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