PETALING JAYA: Political scientist Chandra Muzaffar has urged the government to embrace the Rukun Negara in its entirety and to reiterate its commitment to the national ideology.
Speaking to FMT, he claimed that the nation’s leaders, in their discourses on the Rukun Negara, would seldom go deeply into the aspirations behind the five principles of the ideology.
“Articulating the principles without the aspirations may lead to confusion among communities,” he said.
“The principles are supposed to guide us in achieving the aspirations.”
He said reciting the principles without understanding the deeper meanings behind them was not productive.
According to him, one of the aspirations is to adopt a liberal approach towards cultural traditions.
However, he said, many people and certain leaders linked the term “liberal approach” to bad connotations, such as the promotion of the LGBT culture, which is abhorrent to many Malaysians.
“This is a perfect example of how some of us don’t even understand our own Rukun Negara,” he said, adding that he believed adopting a liberal approach meant promoting inclusiveness and openness to the cultures and traditions of the various ethnic communities.
He alleged that some leaders were averse to emphasising the aspirations because they feared being judged for the ways they were carrying out their responsibilities.
He also said some leaders might see the aspirations as requiring greater accountability from them.
“Aspirations are actually indicators on how good you are as a leader in governing the country,” he said. “People could thus evaluate their leaders by using those indicators.
“The moment you emphasise these aspirations, you are asking for an evaluation from the people. And leaders don’t want that.”
Chandra nevertheless acknowledged that the way Malaysia was being governed was not contradictory to the Rukun Negara.
“There are important elements of governance that can be said to be in conformity with the Rukun Negara, but we could do more,” he said.