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Gerakan Youth supports Rukunegara as preamble to constitution

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Gerakan Youth agrees with the suggestion from a group of activists who yesterday called for the Rukunegara to be included as a preamble of the Federal Constitution.

Its deputy chief Andy Yong said in a statement yesterday that the Rukunegara is Malaysia’s national ideology and it is also part of the party’s ideology to sustain the five principles.

“Gerakan agrees with Chandra Muzaffar, who proposed the Rukunegara to be in the preamble of the Federal Constitution.

“Ironically, there is no preamble in the supreme law, so perhaps it is the right time to add one,” Yong said in response to Chandra (photo), who is chairperson of the initiative dubbed ‘Rukunegara sebagai Mukadimah Perlembagaan’ (RMP).

Commenting further, Yong said the Rukunegara was a pledge formulated during the era of the second prime minister, Abdul Razak Hussein, to serve as a guideline in the country’s nation-building.

“The five tenets are useful and meaningful principles to remind Malaysians of the beauty of our nation.

“I believe even it was to be tabled in Parliament and requires two-third majority, sensible MPs from both sides will support the amendment,” he added.

In launching the initiative yesterday, Chandra said the group would try to gather support from elected lawmakers from both sides of the political divide, as it would require an amendment to the Federal Constitution.

Online petition also launched

This was apart from launching an online petition to garner public support, before presenting their initiative to the Conference of Rulers for further consideration.

In another statement yesterday, lawyer and activist Syahredzan Johan said while he supports any initiative to bring the country back to the principles espoused in the Rukunegara, he does not support the move to put it as the preamble of the Federal Constitution.

“Making the Rukunegara into some form of binding legal provision would take away the strength of the Rukunegara itself, being a reflection of the aspirations of the people. If those aspirations should change, then a statement of guiding principles can easily be moulded to fit these aspirations, not so if it becomes a rigid document with force of law.

“More importantly, if the Rukunegara is made part of the Federal Constitution, I fear that the constitution would be interpreted in ways which was not possible before. We are already grappling with restrictive interpretations of the provisions of the constitution,” Syahredzan said.

For example, he said, he could foresee how Article 11, the right to freedom of religion, would be interpreted to mean the right to profess or practise a religion that recognises a god and to the exclusion of those who practice religions without the belief in a god or those who do not profess a religion.

“I can also foresee how instances of moral policing can be held to be constitutional as it would purport to be in furtherance to ‘kesopanan dan kesusilaan’.

“These would be contrary to what the Federal Constitution provides and may change the character of the constitution, to the detriment of many Malaysians on the fringes,” he added.

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