The Rukunegara is nothing more than a placebo

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

“When people get used to preferential treatment, equal treatment seems like discrimination.”

- Thomas Sowell

What if you had no belief in God?

What if you never met the Agong and only had a myopic class-based view of what your country is?

What if you have never read the constitution but knew that our elected representatives, judiciary and security apparatus only upheld the constitution when it suited their interests?

What if the rule of law meant only the rule of a political party?

What if good behaviour and morality was merely a code for hypocrisy?

How does the Rukunegara awaken us from our slumber? In addition, have Malaysians really been sleepwalking all these years? I do not think so. I think we made a conscious decision to allow our democracy to decay and our rights to be subsumed beneath whatever racial or religious preoccupation we thought needed tending to.

At this point, is there anyone I have not publicly disagreed with? Perhaps this is a failing on my part. I will say this, although I found myself disagreeing more often than not with Dr Chandra Muzaffar, this time I honestly believe that he and the Constitutional Preamble (Rukunegara Muqaddimah Perlembagaan or RMP) initiative are sincere in their beliefs and efforts. Unfortunately, they are promulgating a placebo.

Having said that, the real issue here is not about the non-Muslims/Malays but rather the process in which Islam has become a hegemonic tool to control a polity that in the end determines electoral victory.

A couple of months ago, when discussing how “tolerant” Malaysians are, I wrote - “This has never been about a government of equals. This has always been about creating a monolithic community under the yoke of Umno. Always remember what the Pahang mufti said after he backtracked from his ‘genocide’ comment - ‘We are not forcing but I urge non-Muslims to convert to Islam to be safe in the afterlife and for unity in Malaysia. There will be no more chaos and we can focus on development’ - which is the canard that Muslims shove down one another’s throats in attempt at solidarity.”

The key here is Chandra’s contention that there were attempts to redefine Islam. I would go further. Any attempt to redefine Islam is part of the agenda to redefine culture. Another Malaysiakini columnist, Mariam Mokhtar, states it plainly when she writes - “Students returning from the Middle East have introduced aspects of the Arabic way of life which have seemingly corrupted the Malay culture. Gone are our wayang kulits, our jogets, our bajus, our ‘pagan’ rituals, which were allegedly steeped in Hinduism, which the Malays practised long before they embraced Islam. A woman who speaks her mind is deemed a liberal, a feminist, and someone who ‘does not know her religion’.”

Add to this the agenda of the Umno hegemon over the decades to redefine culture and religion. What we are left with is a community defined by a Saudi religious cult which the Saudi regime has admitted they supported as part of a cold war stratagem and now are attempting to rectify the disastrous effects this pernicious dogma has on their society.

I really wish that the Rukuegara compromised the interests of the Malays and the bumiputera because as I have written many times, the hegemonic interests of Umno and the apathy of the non-Malay community compromised the diversity of the Malay community a long time ago...

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