Basic principles

Aliran Kesedaran Negara (Aliran) is a social movement. Its aim is to raise social consciousness and encourage social action that will lead to social justice.

Social justice is possible only if the social order enables every human being to live like a human being. Living like a human being means bringing forth the humanity in each one of us.

And our humanity is the total expression of all the eternal, universal values such as truth, justice, freedom equality, love, compassion, moderation, tolerance and restraint which lie at the heart of the great spiritual traditions. This is why realising our humanity is discovering the divine essence in us. Only by manifesting our humanity then will we be able to establish our loyalty to God.

This in fact brings us to Aliran’s basic principles – principles which a person must uphold if he or she wants to join the movement. These basic principles are essentially the same as the basic beliefs that were drawn up in 1977 except that they were since clarified further in a more precise manner under separate topics.

The subheadings serve this purpose thought it must be emphasised that we do not believe that life or society can be compartmentalised. We subscribe to a holistic conception of the human being and an integrated view of community, nature and the universe.

Basic Principles

God, the human being and society

  1. Belief in God as the Eternal Truth that embodies all the universal values that define our humanity; the affirmation of God through actual deeds that evince our humanity.
  2. A compassionate society that regards humanising the human being through the liberation from inner bondages such as selfishness and cowardice and outer shackles such as poverty and exploitation as its primary goal.
  3. The conscious cultivation of eternal virtues in the individual through the control of human vices so that people will relate to one another on the basis of ethical consciousness.

Politics, Administration & the Judiciary

  1. A political system that cherishes the freedom and dignity of the ordinary human being, expands his rights, enhances her responsibilities, encourages his active involvement in the formulation of public policies, allows her to exercise effective authority over government and thereby checks the power of the state.
  2. A political process that stresses accountability, promotes the free flow of information, protects the independence of the media, defends the autonomy of various social groups and safeguards the legitimacy of dissent.
  3. A political environment that ensures peaceful, honest conduct of politics; people should be able to select and dismiss their leaders through free, fair elections and fundamental social change should be possible through peaceful persuasion.
  4. An administrative structure where the basis of government is the medium-sized, local-level community which seeks to reduce the power of the bureaucracy and enhances the scope for self-management and self-regulation.
  5. A leader-people relationship in administration, politics and in other spheres which is harmonious because it is based upon ethical principles; leaders should be individuals with integrity and ability, with wisdom and vision whose personal values would have a positive impact upon the rest of society.
  6. An autonomous, creative attitude towards the evolution of the nation’s philosophy, policy-making and planning influenced by one’s own experience and one’s own setting; it should not be the outcome of blind imitation of alien theories and models of development.
  7. A judicial service that is truly independent and upright and laws committed to social justice implemented by a legal system with a people’s orientation.

The Economy

  1. A just economy where wealth and resources are held in trust by the people as a whole and managed through local cooperatives, community enterprises and national corporations; within this framework there should be sufficient scope and space for individual freedom and initiative in agriculture, commerce, industry and the professions.
  2. The equalisation of access to proper food, sufficient clothing, adequate housing, good health, useful education and enough leisure through the equitable distribution of wealth in the interest of the majority; goods and services should be distributed in accordance with human needs so that caring and sharing become the guiding values of the economy as a whole.
  3. The reduction of income disparities and the elimination of class dichotomies with the aim of achieving a united community where human beings retain their individual distinctiveness but are held together by a common humanity.
  4. The conscious regulation of the consumption pattern and the production system through structural changes and by emphasising the values of restraint and simplicity, so that a moderate life-style becomes the preferred ideal of society.
  5. The eradication of corruption, greed and acquisitiveness at all levels especially in the upper stratum of society so that the welfare of the weak and the voiceless masses will not be subordinated to the well-being of a strong and affluent elite.

Science, Technology and Work

  1. The creation of a strong scientific base and a sound scientific tradition which will assist the growth of a just and equitable society.
  2. The development of technology which harmonises with our social philosophy and our social needs and, at the same time, enhances human intelligence and creativity.
  3. The transformation of the nature of work through more humane technology, more creative occupations, smaller, more cohesive communities and more egalitarian social structures so that work becomes a liberating, spiritually satisfying activity.

Education, Culture, Language & Religion

  1. The transformation of our educational system in such a way that it emphasises the inculcation of ethical values, encourages critical, creative thinking, imparts skills and knowledge and enables the community as a whole to participate in the moral and intellectual development of the new generation.
  2. An evolutionary concept of a progressive Malaysian culture with common values shared by the various communities at its core and unity within diversity as its guiding principle.
  3. The active promotion of Bahasa Malaysia as the main language of every Malaysian, adequate encouragement for the development of English as our second language and sincere protection for the use of other local languages.
  4. A progressive approach to Islam and the other religions in the country so that they can, individually and collectively, provide the spiritually basis for the reconstruction of Malaysian society.
  5. The right of the followers of the various religions to practise their faiths in peace and harmony.

Ethnic Relations

  1. A commitment to strive towards the elimination of the underlying economic, sociological, political and psychological causes of ethnic antagonism and conflict in this multi-ethnic society of ours.
  2. A concerted endeavour to eradicate ethnic prejudices and stereotypes and an honest attempt to develop a deeper understanding of the position and aspirations of the various communities.
  3. The rejection of ethnic, linguistic or religious dichotomies in the public life of the nation since contined emphasis upon such differences will only divide the nation further and destroy any lingering hope for genuine multi-ethnic unity and solidarity which is crucial for realising our common humanity.

Women, Family & Environment

  1. The emancipation of women from all those discriminatory structures and attitudes, practices and prejudices which prevent them from fulfilling their roles as equal partners to men seeking to live truly human lives.
  2. The protection of the family as the fundamental unit in society that preserves and perpetuates eternal spiritual values vital for human civilisation.
  3. A conscious effort to protect our physical environment and the entire ecological system since the human being is a partner of nature and has a sacred relationship to it.

The International Order

  1. A readiness to join forces with other like-minded nations to overcome the control and dominance of the world’s economic, technological, information and cultural resources by a handful of rich and powerful states; it is this that is partly responsible for the underdevelopment of countries like ours.
  2. A sincere attempt to achieve self-reliance in every sphere as a way of freeing ourselves from economic and technological dominance by the strong and a readiness to pursue a policy of genuine non-alignment in international relations to safeguard our political independence.
  3. A willingness to strive for an end to militarisation since it has only increased insecurity, escalated global tensions and consumed valuable resources which could have been used for human welfare; at the same time, there must be renewed dedication to the cause of peace through more extensive exploration of non-violent means of accomplishing social change.
  4. The evolution of a new world order where individuals, groups and nations relate to each other in freedom, equality and justice based upon our common humanity and our human destiny.

The 33 basic principles that have been mentioned here do not of course cover all our major concerns. Some of the issues that are important in our struggle are in fact subsumed under other headings. Also, it must not be forgotten that this is just an outline. More elaborate analysis of some of the principles can be found in our various publications. Others will be studied in depth in future writings.

See also our basic beliefs – part 1 & part 2.