(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is confusing and misleading the young generation of Malaysians with his contradictory position of calling for Malaysian patriotic spirit on the one hand and yet giving priority to “Malay unity” over “national unity” talks on the other.
Speaking at the New Millennium Patriotism gathering organised by the Malaysian Youth Council with the co-operation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Shah Alam yesterday, Mahathir said Malaysians must rekindle the spirit of patriotism to face the challenges of the new millennium.
This call, however, must have sounded very hollow to the 15,000 students from schools and institutions of higher learning reported to be at the gathering as they should all be aware that Mahathir is more interested in “Malay unity” talks initiated by UMNO than with “National Unity” talks which the Barisan Alternative had proposed to the Barisan Nasional more than a month ago.
It is most counter-productive and meaningless for Mahathir to be calling for the rekindling of Malaysian nationalism and patriotism when in action and deeds he is only interested in Malay unity at the expense of national unity.
This is why the four “basic tenets” cited by Mahathir as the “patriotism in the new millennium” - a resilient and permanent love of Malaysia, the spirit of togetherness, pride in being a Malaysian and the spirit of loyalty to the country - sound worn-out and irrelevant when the whole country knows that his first preoccupation is over the UMNO-initiated “Malay unity” talks to the extent that Barisan Nasional is not prepared to respond to Barisan Alternative’s invitation to “National Unity” talks.
Mahathir can still redeem all his talk about the “new patriotism” of
the new millennium if he is prepared to set an example of the New Malaysian
instead of being the New Malay, by putting aside the UMNO-initiated
"Malay Unity" talks and respond to the Barisan Alternative invitation to
the Barisan Nasional for "National Unity" talks to:
Malaysia is wrestling with the soul of Malaysia in the new millennium - whether Malaysia should move courageously forward as a Bangsa Malaysia treating all national ills and issues of socio-economic justice, human rights and good governance as the equal concern of all Malaysians regardless of race or whether the country should return to the old communal politics of "divide and rule", the old era of Malay unity, Chinese unity and Indian unity.