Living the Rukun Negara
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.
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).