Liv­ing the Rukun Ne­gara

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THE Rukun Ne­gara should be the back­bone for unity among Malaysians as the coun­try moves to­wards be­com­ing more di­verse, said Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s De­part­ment Tan Sri Joseph Ku­rup.

Fol­low­ing the Rukun Ne­gara Secretariat Con­ven­tion last month, he said the so­cial struc­ture of the coun­try had changed tremen­dously over the years as a re­sult of so­cial, po­lit­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tional and global eco­nomic mod­erni­sa­tion.

Due to an in­creas­ingly glob­alised world and move­ment of com­mu­ni­ties from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries, not only do the peo­ple have to be open to dif­fer­ent prac­tices, but they, too, must be more pa­tri­otic than ever by com­pre­hend­ing the Rukun Ne­gara.

“Af­ter 60 years of Merdeka, we have seen changes in so­ci­ety that in­clude the pres­ence of for­eign com­mu­ni­ties from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. Be­cause of this, we are inch­ing to­wards be­com­ing a coun­try of ‘su­per-di­ver­sity’,” he said.

Su­per-di­ver­sity is a term used by coun­tries that have in­creas­ing racial groups en­ter­ing so­ci­ety, most of them from ex­ter­nal sources.

The sit­u­a­tion of su­per-di­ver­sity, Ku­rup said, needed the at­ten­tion of the pub­lic as a lack of aware­ness would bring about weak so­cial ties, as well as con­tra­dict­ing val­ues and norms.

“It is dan­ger­ous if Malaysians are used by for­eign­ers to spread rad­i­cal ide­olo­gies, es­pe­cially among young­sters, to the point they be­come ex­trem­ists.

“We should fo­cus on unity ed­u­ca­tion through in­stil­la­tion, ap­pre­ci­a­tion and prac­tice of the five prin­ci­ples of Rukun Ne­gara in our daily lives.”

Ku­rup said mis­use of in­for­ma­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy was a wor­ry­ing con­se­quence that Malaysians might face, as it could be ex­ploited to spread ex­treme ide­olo­gies and, sub­se­quently, af­fect unity.

This ex­ploita­tion could also cause clashes of opin­ion and ten­sion be­tween races, even threat­en­ing the coun­try’s sta­bil­ity and har­mony, he said.

“A sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity has prompted the Rukun Ne­gara Secretariat to in­crease aware­ness among to­day’s youth about in­ter­nal­is­ing and prac­tis­ing the prin­ci­ples of Rukun Ne­gara in their daily lives.

“With the Rukun Ne­gara in mind, one will not eas­ily voice out un­easi­ness at oth­ers with­out first think­ing about the reper­cus­sions it would have on the coun­try’s racial har­mony and unity.”

The Na­tional Unity and Integration De­part­ment, as the lead­ing agency in unity and integration, fo­cuses on ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­grammes that foster shared com­mon val­ues.

The Rukun Ne­gara Secretariat Con­ven­tion, which was held from Aug 11 to 13, dis­cussed is­sues and ideas among stu­dents of higher-learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions so that they can bet­ter un­der­stand na­tion­build­ing.

Themed “Ra­tio­nal and Mod­er­ate Stu­dent”’, the con­ven­tion aimed to in­crease aware­ness in youths to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of tol­er­ance and mod­er­a­tion in ac­tion as a guide in life.

The con­ven­tion had three ses­sions, namely “Jour­ney to Na­tion­hood — Em­brac­ing the Past”, “My Coun­try My Soul — Trans­form­ing the Present” and “Shar­ing Unity Val­ues — Shap­ing the Fu­ture”.

The con­ven­tion also saw the Rukun Ne­gara ac­tion plan formed, which will em­pha­sise mind, thought and cred­i­bil­ity-sharp­en­ing of stu­dents.

Th­ese el­e­ments are im­por­tant in cre­at­ing more cre­ative, in­no­va­tive and crit­i­cal hu­man be­ings.

“The el­e­ment of cross-cul­ture is also taken into con­sid­er­a­tion in the ac­tion plan that can open up minds and thoughts to think more ra­tio­nally and mod­er­ately in un­der­stand­ing the sen­si­tiv­ity of other races.

“The plan will con­tinue the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the secretariat in im­ple­ment­ing ac­tiv­i­ties cen­tred on in­ter­ac­tion of mul­tira­cial stu­dents.”

There are 150 Rukun Ne­gara Sec­re­tari­ats con­sist­ing of pub­lic and pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing, poly­tech­nic in­sti­tutes, ma­tric­u­la­tion col­leges, com­mu­nity col­leges and teacher train­ing in­sti­tutes.

PIC BY SURIANIE MOHD HANIF

Min­is­ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s De­part­ment Tan Sri Joseph Ku­rup (cen­tre) at the clos­ing cer­e­mony of the Rukun Ne­gara Secretariat Con­ven­tion at Univer­siti Pu­tra Malaysia (UPM), Ser­dang, last month. With him are Malaysia Crime Pre­ven­tion Foun­da­tion se­nior vice-chair­man Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye (third from right), Na­tional Unity and Integration De­part­ment di­rec­tor Ba­harin Idris (third from left) and UPM co-cur­ricu­lum and stu­dent de­vel­op­ment cen­tre di­rec­tor Associate Pro­fes­sor Dr Para­ma­si­vam Muthusamy (sec­ond from left).

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