PUTRAJAYA, July 19 — The people’s acceptance and understanding of Rukun Negara which was introduced 50 years ago is part of the compass which has guided them.
Whether they realise it or not, the five principles which form the national philosophy were already practised by the majority of the people who helped the nation attain peace and harmony as envisaged when Rukun Negara was developed on August 31, 1970.
Based on this objective, schools and educational institutions became the most important medium to instil and develop an understanding in the people of the principles of Rukun Negara which should be from the pre-school stage.
However, there are those who feel that this is still lacking, resulting in the younger generation not fully understanding it.
During the launch of the 50th anniversary celebration of Rukun Negara on July 9, the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said he wanted the Rukun Negara to be the main thrust of the government to ensure this national philosophy continues to be passed on to and practised by every generation.
The Education Ministry has made various efforts to instil an understanding of the Rukun Negara philosophy among students.
The principles of the Rukun Negara are not just posted on the back covers of school exercise books, but are also included in the teaching-and-learning (PdP) process, said Education Secretary-General, Datuk Yusran Shah Mohd Yusof.
The philosophy is also propagated through the Rukun Negara Club which is a component in the school co-curriculum, and set up in 6,621 primary and secondary schools throughout the country.
“The Rukun Negara Club has been set up in all schools to instil the Rukun Negara among primary and secondary school students,” he told Bernama when met at his office here recently in conjunction with the 50th anniversary celebrations of Rukun Negara.
The understanding and embodiment of Rukun Negara among students are still high, he said, and the national philosophy was the foundation for the ministry in building the students’ understanding and practice of the concept of unity in life.
He said the essence of unity which was the basis for Rukun Negara is included in the teaching-and-learning process in the schools.
Using the example of the first principle of Rukun Negara, which is ‘Belief in God’, Yusran Shah said schools are encouraged to celebrate every festival in the country.
“This is in the context of ‘Belief in God’ which means that we respect every race and religion, while ‘Loyalty to King and Country’ is already in the syllabus and co-curriculum which explains in detail the concept of Constitutional Monarchy.
“We try to instil the values of Rukun Negara from the pre-school stage right up to Form Six. For instance, the module for civics education in pre-schools emphasises civic literacy and practice,” he said, adding that this will hopefully encourage students to think and be ethical in life, with the spirit of unity.
He added that in the history subject for Year Five, the students are introduced to the concept of national sovereignty and identity, and the role of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as “Payung Negara”.
Yusran Shah who joined the Education Ministry on July 1 said the Rukun Negara is taught in the history subject as part of the approach used in schools.
He said the effort to instil the Rukun Negara should not be left to the schools alone, but requires cooperation from all parties including parents, non-governmental organisations and private companies to ensure that the aspirations of the national philosophy are practised by every member of the society.
However, he said, what could be worrying is that the students forget the Rukun Negara after they leave school.
“I feel that understanding and embodiment of Rukun Negara among students in schools are high, but the issue is what happens when they finish school and begin working, because they are influenced by their surroundings,” he said.
Yusran Shah said various programmes had been drawn up as part of the golden anniversary celebrations of Rukun Negara, including poster drawing, short video, essay writing, speech and mural drawing contests, all related to the elements of Rukun Negara.
The Rukun Negara was proclaimed on August 31, 1970, during the 13th independence day celebrations, following the May 13 incident in 1969.
The 50th anniversary celebrations of Rukun Negara began on July 9, and will continue until September 16. — Bernama