All party forum on Rukunegara

Statement by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang, at a tea party given by Batu Pahat DAP at Chinese Chamber of Commerce building on Thursday, 22nd Oct. 1970 at 7p.m.

All party forum on Rukunegara

I have today sent out letters to all political parties in Malaysia inviting them to take part in an all-party forum on “How to make the Rukun Negara a more meaningful and effective instrument in the nation building of a united multi-racial Malaysian nation.”

The Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak, speaking as Director of Operations in a radio broadcast in Sarawak on 20th august 1969 said the national ideology would not be imposed on the nation but would be discussed by everybody before it was adopted.

Tun Razak said: “The national ideology will, of course, not be imposed on the nation by legislative or bureaucratic fiat.”

“We will not make the mistake of imposing anything which is not for the good of the people in general.

“There will be ample opportunity for discussion by everybody before we finally adopt the various tenets of the ideology.”

This is the correct approach to the formulation of a Rukun Negara which will be accepted by all Malaysians as a basis for building a united Malaysian nation. Public participation in the formulation of the Rukun Negara is necessary if the Rukun Negara is to “give positive expression to the Malaysian way of life” and represent “the aspirations of the cast majority of our people for a peaceful, harmonious and progressive future” as another Cabinet Minister has put it.

Such a national ideology must come about from public discussion and debate, involving not only the Government and one or two political parties, but involving all political parties, professional organizations, trade unions, societies, and Malaysians from all walks of life.

If the public are only expected to receive the Rukun Negara, and hear explanations about it by some political parties at public meetings, without giving them the opportunity to express their views and participate in the formulation of the national ideology, I do not think the Rukun Negara will gain very wide acceptance.

It is very important that our stand on the Rukun Negara be not misunderstood, to prevent distortion of our views by those who are ever eager to pounce on the slightest excuse to attack the DAP, whether based on things which we have said or even on things which we have never said.

The DAP, and for that matter, the large majority of the people of Malaysia, agree to the concept of a Rukun Negara. The five principles which the Alliance Government and the Gerakan Ra’ayat Malaysia have drawn up, namely belief in God, loyalty to King and Country, upholding the Constitution, the rule of law and good behavior and morality, is unlikely to meet with opposition from many people.

In its present form, however, the Rukunegara has omitted vital principles in the building of a united Malaysian nation. There is clearly a need for a public discussion as to how to make the Rukunegara a more effective and meaningful instrument in the nation building process.

We have suggested to all political parties the holding of a series of four all-party forums in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil each on
“How to make the Rukunegara a more meaningful and effective instrument in the nation building process.”

The DAP is prepared to undertake organising this series, which we propose holding in December. The details of the forum, e.g. chairman, number of speakers, the procedures of the forum, can be finalized later by the participating parties.

We are sure the parties which agree to take part in the forum will have no objection to sharing the expenses of organising the forums, as this is in the national interest.