Commentary on Principle
Commentary on Principle 1
Belief in God
Malaysia has been founded upon a firm belief in God. This belief implies that the essence of life and its purpose is spiritual. Universal moral values such as honesty and kindness should guide a human being’s conduct and shape her relations with her fellow human beings.
The belief in God underscores the interconnectedness of creation at the core of which is the unity of the entire human family. This unity demands that we treat each and every human being with dignity and respect. It is by protecting and enhancing human dignity, regardless of ethnicity or religion, class or gender, region or locality, that we ensure justice and peace in Malaysia.
This understanding of the belief in God should be reflected in the role of Islam as the religion of the Federation. The followers of all religions are entitled to practise their faith without coercion or compulsion. There should be no discrimination against any citizen on the basis of religion.
Religion should not be manipulated for narrow political ends. It should not be a conduit for the propagation of hatred or bigotry. It is wrong to resort to violence or aggression in the name of religion.
Commentary on Principle 2
Loyalty to King and Country
Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy. The authority of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and the State Rulers is derived from the Federal and State Constitutions. Rulers perform their duties to the people within the ambit of the law.
The Rulers are above politics. They should not be involved in business. They are expected to adhere to high ethical standards in their private and public lives. It is through virtuous behaviour that they set the right example for the people.
The people in turn should be loyal to the Yang di Pertuan Agong and the Rulers. Loyalty to King and Country is one of the pillars of our nation’s peace and stability. It has also played a role in ensuring a degree of unity in our multi-ethnic society.
Commentary on Principle 3
Upholding the Constitution
The Federal Constitution is the supreme law of our Federation.
As a fundamental law, it describes the manner in which our state is organized, government administered and justice delivered.
It creates the various organs of our state; prescribes their powers and functions and provides limits on their powers. It describes the relationship of the various branches of the state with each other and with the citizen.
The Constitution also articulates the core political, religious, moral, cultural and economic values on which society is founded.
It provides for an effective government. At the same time it embodies institutions, ideals, doctrines, principles and procedures that act as a bulwark against oppression and tyranny.
In the matter of human rights the Constitution provides a balance between society’s need for order and the individual’s right to freedom. The might of the state and the rights of the citizens are delicately balanced.
In our diverse society the Constitution safeguards the rights and interests of the various communities in a spirit of accommodation and moderation. Historical truths are balanced with contemporary realities. The special interests of the various regions are, likewise, given recognition. The Constitution seeks to weld together all communities and regions into one common nationality.
Being the supreme law, the Constitution binds all sectors of society – the political executive, the armed forces, the civil service, the Parliament, the judiciary, the other agencies of the state and all citizens and citizens’ groups.
Constitutional supremacy is protected by judicial review i.e. the power of the superior courts to test the validity of all state action by reference to the constitutional yardstick
Commentary on Principle 4
Rule of law
The rule of law is an ideal of good government and just constitutional arrangements. It overlaps with many other venerated ideals like those of limited government, constitutionalism, due process and just legality.
At its core it stands for legality. A society must be governed by a government of laws and not by a regime of arbitrary powers. There must be preference for law and order over anarchy and strife. There must be supremacy of laws. No person should be punished or made to suffer in body or goods except for a distinct breach of law established in the ordinary legal manner before the ordinary courts. Government officials must show respect for the law and must observe the limits on their powers.
There must be controls on executive discretion. All powers must be subject to limits.
To put the rule of law into practice, there must be an independent judiciary, free from extraneous pressures with the power to enforce its verdicts without fear or favour. It must be invested with all the necessary powers to interpret and enforce the law and to keep public authorities within the limits of their competence.
The laws that reign supreme must be just. The laws of the land must honour and promote individual freedom and dignity and provide safeguards for equality and property. There must be compliance with some substantive human rights values.
Socio-economic justice is part of the rule of law. Legal guarantees of human rights must be accompanied by socio-economic measures so that formal rights can find expression in reality and the individual can realize his dignity. There must be vigorous state support to help the weak, the oppressed and the marginalised. The state must be involved in social amelioration schemes to bring welfare to those who, for whatever reason, are unable to actualize their freedoms and rights.
The threat to the rule of law comes as much from abuse of liberty as from abuse of power. The government must be capable of enforcing law and order and ensuring socio-economic and legal justice. Crime should be controlled. Citizens should show fidelity to the law.
Commentary on Principle 5 .
Good Behaviour and Morality
Good behaviour and morality are important in any society. They assume greater significance in a multi-religious and multi-cultural society like ours. Treating a member of another community with respect, kindness and compassion is not only the essence of ‘good behaviour’ but will also enhance inter-ethnic harmony.
These and other universal values should be inculcated within the family. They should become the basis of community behaviour. The new information and communication technologies should be harnessed to disseminate elements of good behaviour that inspire emulation by the public at large. It will also open up the hearts and minds of our people.
For good behaviour to transform the collective morality of society there should be a total commitment at every stratum to honesty, integrity and trustworthiness. Those who practise these values should be rewarded while the transgressors should be punished. When leaders and citizens uphold what is right through deeds, the moral standards of society will be high. Malaysia will then become a righteous society respected by its own people and admired by outsiders.