Sun, 10 Dec 2023



Rukun Negara is a good start: Religious schools must also come under Ministry’s watch and comply with Education Act
Published on: Sunday, August 27, 2023
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THE initiative by Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek to instil the Rukun Negara ideology among young children in school is lauded.

Despite being embraced as Malaysia’s national philosophy since its inception in 1970, the Rukun Negara has yet to achieve prominence within our nation.

In contrast, the “Pancasila” in Indonesia has firmly established itself as a unifying pillar in Indonesian society and appears to have been integrated into the education system.

The plan to encourage the formation of more Rukun Negara clubs in schools is commended. Students should be taught about the reasons behind the formulation of the Rukun Negara by the National Consultative Council following the May 13, 1969 clashes.

Malaysia has effectively dealt with the fundamental issues of poverty and unemployment, which were perceived as the primary factors contributing to economic disparities. With the implementation of the New Economic Policy, Malaysia was able to address these imbalances.

Although the economic disparities have decreased considerably, certain factions are leveraging other issues to sow discord among the races.

Thus, the Rukun Negara can nurture the younger generation into becoming responsible and open-minded citizens, and less susceptible to manipulation by individuals who exploit race and religion for political gain.

Compared with other countries, Malaysia is a relatively young nation and is characterised by its multiracial makeup, with each group having its distinct cultural and religious traditions.

Whatever the differences, Malaysians must learn to live as one big family, recognising that no single racial group can exist in isolation.

The Rukun Negara club should be set up in all schools, including vernacular and religious schools. Efforts should be made to bring state-managed religious schools under the jurisdiction of the Education Ministry, subjecting them to comply with the Education Act of 1996, which mandates adherence to the national education curriculum.

In addition, G25 advocates for broader and more profound efforts to foster an understanding and respect for the essence and tenets of the Rukun Negara across the entire educational spectrum, spanning from early childhood education to higher education, encompassing both the public and private education sectors within the nation.

The essence is already embedded within the National Philosophy of Education, but it requires clearer articulation through amendments aimed at instilling the principles of the Rukun Negara.

The implementation of this initiative should include strategies to cultivate a deeper understanding and respect for the Rukun Negara.

This exercise should involve various segments of the government and society, including educational experts, public and private sectors and civil society organisations, to propagate the spirit of unity among all Malaysians.

Our nation needs a strong boost in unity based on the principles of the Rukun Negara.

There is a pressing need to systemise the type of messaging that needs to be carefully crafted, with the assistance and guidance of experts and educationists. This collaboration is essential for the development of a comprehensive action plan and educational pedagogical strategy.

This initiative can be disseminated and deliberated upon in nationwide educational workshops to ensure the smooth adoption of the principles and essence of the Rukun Negara, minimising excessive diversity.

This instructional exercise should engage teachers and lecturers at the grassroots level, and be closely monitored and evaluated to gather feedback for potential corrective actions by the planning and implementation teams.

It is important to note that the Rukun Negara includes principles, such as the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Therefore, we recommend the inclusion of the Federal Constitution in the school curricula as these will complement each other.

The teaching of constitutional principles should commence in primary schools, with a particular focus on fundamental liberties and human rights. This is to ensure that pupils develop an appreciation for human values, such as equality, freedom of speech and expression, personal liberty, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and freedom to profess one’s religion, among others, from a young age.

The part of the Federal Constitution that pertains to the system of government can be taught at secondary schools. A grasp of the Constitution will enable them to understand their constitutional rights and responsibilities, making them better citizens.

If this can be properly planned and executed, we can anticipate a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Rukun Negara and the Constitution throughout the nation. However, adequate funding for the whole undertaking must be assured.

The other pressing issue that needs to be addressed in our schools is the lack of quality education. We want to emphasise that empowering teachers and enhancing their competencies must be prioritised.

It is essential to provide teachers with the necessary support to enable them to establish a conducive and productive learning atmosphere for students.

The school curriculum and time allocated for core subjects must be reviewed. For example, more time should be allocated for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects.

It is important that students from religious schools are also exposed to a well-balanced national education curriculum.

Although there was a Malaysia Education Blueprint Report 2013-2025, highlighting the best practices from other countries, the weakness lies in its implementation.

The Education Ministry must prioritise the implementation strategies. We urge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to present this report to the Cabinet, raising consensus among ministers to enact the required reforms.


- The views expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of the Daily Express.

- If you have something to share, write to us at: [email protected]


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