Isma: Making Rukunegara preamble to Constitution denigrates Islam’s position

Isma deputy president Aminuddin Yahya today criticised a proposal to insert the Rukunegara as preamble to the Federal Constitution, claiming that such a move denigrates the Islam’s position as religion of the federation. — Picture by Zurairi AR
Isma deputy president Aminuddin Yahya today criticised a proposal to insert the Rukunegara as preamble to the Federal Constitution, claiming that such a move denigrates the Islam’s position as religion of the federation. — Picture by Zurairi AR

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Islamists group Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) has lambasted today a proposal to insert the Rukunegara as preamble to the Federal Constitution, claiming that such a move denigrates the Islam’s position as religion of the federation.

In a report on its portal IsmaWeb today, the group claimed that the proposal will also dilute the privilege of the Malays, claiming that this is because the Rukunegara does not explicitly state the position of the majority group in it.

“This will subtly erode the position of the Malays. It is an effort that must be opposed and does not understand the values included in the Constitution.

“This suggestion is a liberal thought that aims to dilute Islam and the position of the Malays,” its deputy president Aminuddin Yahaya was quoted saying.

Aminuddin reportedly took issue with the first Rukunegara principle since it does not specifically mention Islam, instead merely prescribing a belief in God.

“We request for the people and MPs to reject this suggestion which is said to be lobbied to MPs before tabled in in the Parliament,” he said.

“We also demand for this suggestion to be debated and valued by Constitutional experts first and not just a small group of people.”

A group of activists, calling themselves the “Rukunegara Muqaddimah Perlembagaan” (RMP), recently launched a move to push for the Rukunegara or National Principles to be made a preamble of the Federal Constitution.

Lead by activist Dr Chandra Muzaffar, the group also included Malaysian Bar Constitutional Law Committee member Firdaus Husni, and constitutional law expert Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

RMP has set a deadline of April 30 to collect as many signatures as possible through its newly created website, before it is scheduled to submit an application with the Rulers Council in hopes that it would advise the Cabinet and Parliament to act accordingly.

The Rukunegara are five principles introduced by the government following the race riots of 1969. They are: belief in God, loyalty to king and country, the supremacy of the constitution, the rule of law, and civility and decency.

As the name “National Principles” suggest, they are philosophies rather than rules, and contain ideals that the government hoped would encourage national unity in the wake of deadly racial unrest.

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