Article 153 of the Federal Constitution will not be eroded by the incorporation of the Rukunegara as the preamble to the Federal Constitution, says prominent activist and academician Chandra Muzaffar.
Chandra said Article 153 was entrenched in the Federal Constitution and it cannot be amended without approval from the Conference of Rulers.
“The main reason why the Rukunegara will not undermine Article 153 is because it is an entrenched article in the constitution, which cannot be amended by Parliament or by any other institution except the Conference of Rulers,” he told Malaysiakini.
Apart from Article 153, other constitutional provisions, such as language, citizenship and the position of rulers, are all safeguarded by the Conference of Rulers, Chandra said.
“Any attempt to frighten people by suggesting that Article 153 or other entrenched articles will be undermined by the Rukunegara is utterly irresponsible,” he stressed.
Perkasa says ‘no’
Chandra said this in response to opposition to the ongoing campaign for Rukunegara to be the Constitutional Preamble (RMP) by a group of prominent rights activists.
Yesterday, a roundtable discussion organised by Malay rights pressure group Perkasa concluded that the proposal was detrimental to Malay and bumiputera interest.
A major concern was the potential impact on Article 153, which stipulates that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has a responsibility to safeguard the special position of the Malays and the natives of Sabah and Sarawak.
The roundtable discussion instead proposed that the Rukunegara be taught through the education system and used as a guide for government policies.
Chandra said the RMP was agreeable to this and it was among the reasons why the campaign was initiated in the first place.
Bringing Malaysians together
He said the campaign was about putting this national ideology, proclaimed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong in 1970, to work.
“We are trying to empower the national ideology. Why should this be seen as something that should be stopped?
“Isn’t it absurd that one should talk about stopping a genuine, democratic and legal attempt to empower the nation’s ideology?”
Chandra believes that “all rational-thinking Malaysians” would appreciate the imperative need for a platform that could bring all Malaysians together.
“It is an attempt to strengthen a common platform for all Malaysians. The alternative to that is to allow the existing divisions and the existing lines of faction to worsen to the detriment of Malaysians.”
Re-discovering national ideology
Citing the goals of the Rukunegara, which talks about greater unity, justice and democracy, among others, Chandra said such goals were especially needed today, as many Malaysians were unclear on the nation’s direction.
“Some of them are very fearful the way we are evolving, the way the nation is evolving. That’s the reason why we are doing this,” said Chandra.
The RMP campaign is headed by Chandra, constitutional law expert Shad Saleem Faruqi and a group of prominent activists, who believe that incorporating the Rukunegara as the preamble to the constitution will help guide government policies.
Ultimately, the group intends to petition the Conference of Rulers on their proposal.
Source : Alyaa Azhar @ Malaysiakini