KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) – While Generation Y has moved with the times and speedily adapted to digital transformation, they are, however, still lagging behind when it comes to being knowledgeable about the nation’s history, development, constitution, and institution of monarchy.
Their lack of knowledge on these aspects is evident on social media where they voice out their views on the royalty without considering the ramifications and that too at a time when people are grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, there have also been court cases centered around social media postings by Gen Y youngsters besmirching the reputation of the monarchy.
Remember the incident on July 20 last year when two women were caught defacing the portrait of Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah at Taman Cahaya Alam in Section U12, Shah Alam?
Commenting on the behavior of Gen Y (a demographic characterized by people born between the early 1980s and the start of the new millennium), academics said schools and educational institutions are an important medium to educate the younger generation as well as instill into them a better understanding and appreciation of the institution of monarchy.
However, the general consensus is that the application of the Rukun Negara concept, particularly its second principle Loyalty to the King and Country, is still lacking at the school level, as a result of which the younger generation’s appreciation of the national philosophy has been found wanting.
FOUNTAIN OF JUSTICE
Universiti Teknologi Mara Institution of Malay Rulers chair Prof Datuk Dr Shamrahayu Ab Aziz said besides educational institutions, leaders and senior members of the community should also play a role in conveying the significance of the concept of constitutional monarchy to the younger generation by using an approach that is appropriate to this group.
“In the context of the past and present, the ruler is regarded as the ‘fountain of justice’. This concept is important, that’s why we, as ‘seniors’ should use a more youthful approach that will appeal to the young, for example, by using the hashtag #Fountain of Justice, to convey to them (Gen Y) information on the institution of monarchy,” she said during a recent webinar on An Understanding of Loyalty to the King and Country organized by the Council of Federal Datuks of Malaysia.
She said in educating the younger generation, the focus should be on those who are in their 20s because this is the generation that will be leading the nation in 36 years’ time when Malaysia celebrates the centennial of its independence from colonial rule.
“It’s our responsibility to guide them to understand the monarchy’s role as the fountain of justice, as well as to strengthen unity and sense of patriotism among the people,” she added.
NON-MALAY GEN Y
Sharing the feedback of some students in Sarawak that non-Malays lacked an understanding of the institution of monarchy, Shamrahayu said this can be attributed to the insufficient knowledge dished out to them by their teachers at the various educational institutions.
“They (the teachers) have failed to convey the concept of the King being the fountain of justice to all citizens. If we were to look at Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) is responsible for all the people because we all come under the auspices of the YDPA at the federal level and the sultans at the state level,” she said.
Article 153 of the Federal Constitution grants the Yang di-Pertuan Agong responsibility for “safeguarding the special position of the Malays and natives of any of the states of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities”.
“Although the ruler has to be a Malay, he serves as ruler not only to the Malays but to all citizens of Malaysia,” she said.
This fact, she added, is a dimension of patriotism that can be used to propel the younger generation and non-Malay groups, including Bumiputeras, to uphold their loyalty to the monarchy.
“Historical and cultural experiences have imparted many lessons to the existing institution of monarchy. A large part of the cultures based on religious and ancient practices has waned because people’s values have changed due to the changing environment and way of thinking,” she said.
As such, she added, Malaysians must grasp the history and culture of loyalty to the King and country so that the national philosophy, as it stands now, will remain the aspiration and pillar of the people.
PATRIOTISM STARTS AT HOME
On patriotism, Shamrahayu said she believed that it is not something that can only be taught in schools and that students need to know that patriotism does not stop at memorizing the five principles of the Rukun Negara.
She said the teaching of patriotism should begin at home, hence the need for parents to be aware of patriotism so that they can convey the necessary information to their children.
Meanwhile, Prof Datuk Dr Baharudin Puteh, who is from the Faculty of Language and Education at Melaka Islamic University College, observed that adherence to the Rukun Negara principles of Loyalty to King and Country and Supremacy of the Constitution has faded going by the criticisms hurled at the monarchy and Malaysia’s Parliamentary democratic system on social media.
“During the month of August, which is our independence month and we fly the national flag at our residences, some people would borrow the Jalur Gemilang from others instead of spending a few sen on buying a new one,” he pointed out.
He also said that in keeping with the Supremacy of the Constitution principle, people should obey the laws of the country that were drafted and passed under the Parliamentary democratic system.
“This is why the Rukun Negara campaign should be shared widely on social media to inculcate a sense of patriotism and unity into the people of Malaysia,” he added.
Translated by Rema Nambiar