THE Rukun Negara, Malaysia’s blueprint for national unity, was launched on Aug 31,1970. It comes in two parts: the objectives and the principles. This year, we are celebrating its golden anniversary – but, just as in the past, it is again the principles that are being emphasised while the objectives are always elided.
Come Aug 31, we celebrate National Day. This year's theme, Malaysia Prihatin (Malaysia Cares), is apt and relevant as it shows how as a nation, we care for fellow citizens and the less fortunate.
we need to focus more on the 4Is — integrity, innovation, inclusiveness and institutions — to ensure the future Malaysia is innovative, our people and leaders have strong integrity, and we have effective and
What has been termed the blueprint for national unity was launched as the Rukunegara on Aug 31, 1970, by our fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong. On July 9, 2020, Putrajaya launched the golden anniversary celebration of the “Rukun Negara”, spelt as two words. This deviation from the original may be considered a non-issue, but I consider this as serious as flying the Jalur Gemilang upside down – ignoring minor details can lead to neglect of the major transformational message of the Rukunegara.
There are two parts to the Rukunegara: the principles and the objectives. The five principles (pictured above) are what everyone knows. We are reminded of them continuously and children are made to recite them at school. During this golden anniversary year the principles were again emphasised and the Prime Minister urged Malaysians to practice them daily.
So while we are constantly reminded of the five principles, the pillars of the Rukunegara, what the pillars are supporting, the objectives, are seldom highlighted. The result is that many are unaware of the very important five objectives..
While Covid-19 was spreading worldwide, Malaysia was entrenched in political turmoil. As cabinet members were still being appointed and settling into their new positions, a number of other nations were already putting in place legislation to mitigate the negative economic effects of the looming pandemic and in some cases, giving the government legal power to intervene and adjust regulations in a range of sectors to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their citizens.
Public health in Malaysia is protected by the Protection and Control of Infectious Disease Act 1988. However, relying on this act alone is insufficient, as it does not address the economic repercussions of the pandemic. To remedy this, the Temporary Measures for Government Financing Bill (Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19]) 2020 has been introduced and recently made public.
While some may criticise the government for tabling the proposed act too late, it must be pointed out that other countries, such as our neighbours in Singapore, through amendments to their Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act, provide clues as to how our government may be able to alleviate contractual issues that are a consequence of the pandemic, despite such issues manifesting prior to the passing of the legislation.
The Asean Charter should be reviewed by enhancing the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as deciding on the traditional practice of consensual decision-making. Asean must have stretch goals and push the envelope to make a quantum leap forward and review the consensus approach.
Asean needs to also pursue the 3Rs — responsiveness, relevance and rights. Asean must prioritise digital transformation, sustainability and SME business continuity.
As part of a strategic initiative to help business, government and society stay ahead of the curve with futures thinking research powered by artificial intelligence, KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific and award-winning AI company, MyFinB Group, have jointly established K.AI Research Lab.
Struggle of Malaysian SMEs During the COVID-19 Pandamic
A significant portion of Malaysian business comprise of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that form the backbone of the national economy. While the COVID-19 outbreak has made an impact on people's lives, the SMEs in particular have underwent significant difficulty during the movement control order (MCO), with some struggling to make a living.
While the PRIHATIN Rakyat Stimulus Package contained provisions to help businesses, it is found that not all SMEs have been able to utilise the financial reliefs it contains.
To examine the plight of the SMEs, KSI organised a webinar to identify issues they face by consulting representatives from these businesses. A list of recommendations have been put together into a policy brief for the SMEs and the government in hope that effective public policies can be undertaken to improve conditions for these enterprises.
About KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific
KSI is an independent not-for-profit think tank dedicated to improve socio-economic wellbeing through the development of public policy ideas through research, public interaction, and providing insight. We provide policy advocacy, leadership development and strategic planning to policy makers and members of society.