RMP collects 350 signatures in move to incorporate Rukunegara in Constitution

RMP collects 350 signatures in move to incorporate Rukunegara in Constitution

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of civil society leaders is one step further along on its quest to create a preamble for the Federal Constitution.

The Rukun Negara Sebagai Muka­dimah Perlembagaan (RMP) initiative is calling for the five principles of the Rukunegara to be used as the basis for an introduction which sets out the objectives and tone for the country’s supreme law.

And some of the surviving draf­ters of the Rukunegara told The Star that they welcome the move.

“I personally feel and believe there is no legal objection to incorporating the Rukunegara as the pre­­amble to our Constitution, as part of our principles for our people to practise,” said Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen Ismail, who was a mem­­ber of the National Consulta­tive Council (NCC) headed by then deputy prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, which drafted the document in 1970.

“I believe there has been a failure to see that the Rukunegara has been fully implemented and practised by the people of Malaysia, in the way that the Pancasila has played a part in Indonesia,” added the former Cabi­net minister, who is also a member of the Kelantan royal family.

The RMP was launched in Janua­ry, and began a signature campaign which is ending soon.

They have collected about 350 signatures and plan to present their proposal to the Conference of Rulers, in the hope that the Rulers would advise the Cabinet and Par­liament to adopt the Rukunegara as the preamble to the Constitution.

“At a time when the nation is be­coming more and more divided along religious, ethnic and even territorial grounds, it is important to re-articulate our commitment to a national vision which is inclusive and integrative,” RMP chairman Dr Chandra Muzaffar explained.

They were not aiming for a lot of signatures, but for quality in terms of influencers, he said.

“We are looking for a cross section of civil society and are happy that those who endorsed the plan come from different ethnic backgrounds, including people from Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Former Methodist Bishop Rev Da­tuk Dr Denis Dutton, who was also a member of the NCC, supports RMP’s goal.

“It is something that many find meaningful and helpful for Malay­sia. I recall the days when it was first announced and how elated we all were. As a leader in the Methodist church then, I tried to encourage our members to embrace the principles contained in the Rukunegara,” he said.

Historian Tan Sri Dr Khoo Kay Kim was a member of a committee tasked, in early 1970, to discuss a national ideology.

“It was to be based on principles suggested by Tun Ghazali Shafie, who was then minister with special duties, after the May 1969 riots,” he remembered. “He was very im­pressed by Indonesia’s Pancasila, which did so much to bring the people of Indonesia together. He hoped it could do the same here.”

It was this committee which presented the proposed five principles to the NCC.

Khoo is also in favour of making the Rukunegara the preamble to the Constitution “because they do not clash at all. It could help people to understand the Constitution better”.

But unlike the original Rukune­gara document which has 20,000 words, a preamble should not be too long or complicated, he stressed.

“It should be very basic and simple,” he added.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/05/05/groups-preamble-quest-coming-along-rmp-collects-350-signatures-in-move-to-incorporate-rukunegara-in/#ZlFp7uaGOVpty9rd.99

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