Statement by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a press conference at Penang Bayan Lepas airport on Wednesday, 14 Oct. 1970 at 9.30p.m.
The Alliance government and the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia have jointly worked out a national ideology, or Rukunegara, for the people of Malaysia.
We in the DAP have no part in the formulation of the Rukunegara. But as far back as in 1966, I have had the opportunity to write in the DAP organ, the Rocket, that the people of Malaysia should reach a common set of fundamental objectives on nation building, a national consensus, to ensure a united, peaceful and prosperous Malaysia.
But such a national consensus should be the outcome of public debate and discussion, involving the government, political parties, professional me, trade unions and Malaysians from all walks of life.
The Rukunegara was presented by the Alliance government and the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia as a fait accompli. There was no attempt to get public participation in the formulation of the Rukunegara, and even today, all that the people is expected to do seems merely to listen to explanations about the Rukunegara by its co-authors at public meetings.
I wish to seek clarification from the government as to whether the Rukunegara as recently proclaimed is the final document, and whether members of the public and other organizations can give their views and suggestions for incorporation in the Rukunegara.
Although nobody disagrees with the concept of having a Rukunegara to form a common national basis for political, economic and social action, there may be different views as to what principles should constitute the Rukunegara.
I will there fore like the authorities to clarify whether the Rukunegara could be modified to incorporate new and better ideas.
The five-point Rukunegara is:
1) Belief in God. 2) Loyalty to King and Country. 3) Upholding the Constitution. 4) the rule of Law and 5) Good Behaviour and Morality.
Very few people will disagree with these principles, just as very few people will disagree with the Ten Commandants, which enjoin among other things, that one should not steal, defraud one’s neighbor. Commit adultery and to love one’s neighbour as oneself.
In my view, the Rukunegara drafted by the Alliance government and the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia contain major omissions which renders it in its present form ineffective as a basis to build a united Malaysian nation.
If the Rukunegara is to be meaningful, it must also contain principles concerning the type of a Malaysian nation we want to have, including declarations relating to
1. That Malaysia should be a genuine multi-racial nation;
2. That all Malaysians should dedicate themselves to work the parliamentary democratic process and renounce force and violence as a method of political struggle; and
3. That it is the duty of every Malaysian to contribute to the abolition of the economic imbalance between the haves and the have-nots, and between the urban and rural areas.
A Rukunegara which omits reference to the above-mentioned principles cannot be a meaningful Rukunegara, and is unlikely to make any positive contribution to the building up of a national consensus of minds among Malaysians in matters which really counts.
I propose that there should be a public discussion and debate all over the country, including radio and television, on what the Rukunegara for Malaysia should really contain.
We are living in the 20th century, where those in authority must listen and respond to the thinking of the people in the towns and kampongs. We are no more living in the old feudal society where the ruling class decide how and what the people should think, announce it and expect the ordinary men and women to comply.