Rukun Negara and Pancasila: The parallels

Rukun Negara and Pancasila: The parallels
While Malaysia's national philosophy is known as the 'Rukun Negara', Indonesia has the 'Pancasila'. Surprisingly, both sets of principles draw many similarities.
KUALA LUMPUR: In Malaysia, August is the month hive with activities to celebrate the Merdeka anniversary.

However, most Malaysians are oblivious that their neighbouring country Indonesia too celebrates its independence anniversary in the same month.

While Malaysia is getting ready to celebrate its 57th independence anniversary this Sunday, 31 Aug, Indonesia celebrated its 69th independence anniversary on Aug 17.

Apart from sharing the month of August, both Malaysia and Indonesia also share the national philosophy or principles anchored on the societal values in ensuring the people remain united and progressive. These values are supposed to define the national character of its people.

In Malaysia, this national philosophy is known as the 'Rukun Negara' while in Indonesia it is known as the 'Pancasila'. Surprisingly, both sets of principles draw many similarities.

The five basic principles

Firstly, Malaysia and Indonesia each share the same number of principles, each with five.

The five principles of Rukun Negara are; believe in God, loyalty to king and country, supremacy of the constitution, rule of law, courtesy and morality.
The five principles of the Pancasila are; believe in the one and only God, a just and civilised society, united as a nation, to be guided by consensus and social justice for all.

In essence, both Rukun Negara and Pancasila share many similarities in the principles and play an important role in moulding a cohesive and sovereign society.

A closer observation indicates the values prescribed by both are impartial. Thus both Rukun Negara and Pancasila do no transgress into one's creed or religious beliefs.

The impartial nature of the principles will help ensure citizens of different ethnic and religious background throughout the Malaysian Federation and throughout the Indonesian archipelago will adopt the principles with an open heart.

Pancasila as the way of life

A journalist with Harian Indonesia, Fetruk Fitrianto Sutiyanto, 41, said to Bernama, as for Indonesians, the five principles, commonly referred in the Indonesian language as ‘sila’ (the five) when implemented earnestly, would definitely promote peace and unity for the nation.

"The values promoted by the Pancasila has profound impact on the development of Indonesians in every sphere of life. The principles protects the freedom of religion and promotes religious harmony. When there are problems, solutions can be found through consensus and settled within the spirit of one big family," he explained.

Fetruk also pointed out the fourth principle, guided by consensus, is actually based on the collective way of life practiced in much of Indonesia since time immemorial.

"Being the sole underlying principles in leading the righteous path as citizens, the society has to adopt Pancasila as their guide in leading a life as Indonesian citizens.

"The values epitomised by the Pancasila is inculcated in Indonesians right from the elementary school level up to the university level. In those days recital of the Pancasila was compulsory at every level in the schooling system.

"This is what strengthened the national character, unfortunately the education board decided it is no longer compulsory to recite the principles," said Fetruk who has been in journalism for the last 15 years.

Fetruk, who hails from Jakarta, noted that the many similarities between Indonesia's Pancasila and Malaysia's Rukun Negara, reflected that the people of both sides shared similar values and roots.

"Rukun Negara and Pancasila were introduced with the same spirit, to establish the character of the people living in a sovereign state and espouse universal values of humanity," he added.

It starts from the family

Dr Lim Hin Fui, who has a PhD in social anthropology, said the fifth principle of the Rukun Negara - courtesy and morality - is something that Malaysians have to view seriously now in promoting good values within the family and in the bigger picture the society.

Thus Rukun Negara serves as the fundamental principles that bind together the citizens regardless of the racial and religious background like in Malaysia's plural society.

Lim, the author of the booklet 'Universal Values: Happiness, Harmony and Unity' said this to Bernama when speaking on the noble values through Rukun Negara.

He added that, like the Rukun Negara, the noble values that he promoted in his booklet were universal in nature and complements the values prescribed by all religions, but the challenge remains in grasping and adopting the values in one's daily life.

"As for example, the thing that I emphasize in this book is the need to show respect to one another within the family. This is also emphasized by all religions", said the senior researcher with Forest Research Institute of

He pointed out further, the social woes that Malaysians were facing today is due to selfishness.

"When we learn to care for others in our lives, we can create a happy family, and in turn contribute to a harmonious working environment and indirectly towards a united society," he said.

Thus there is a lot that Malaysians can learn from Rukun Negara. - By Ali Imran Mohd Noordin