(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): The three-day National Patriotism Congress starting tomorrow, described by the Singapore Straits Times as “course for top politicians to get lessons on patriotism”, to be attended by Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Chief Ministers and MPs from both the Barisan Nasional and the Opposition, raises many questions.
The first real question in Malaysia to be resolved is not who is a patriot, but who is qualified to describe another a patriot.
For instance, is a Malaysian who says “No to 929” to defend the 1957 Constitution, the social contract and the 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Islam is the official religion but Malaysia is not an Islamic State a “patriot”, or is the Malaysian who unilaterally, arbitrarily and unconstitutionally declare that Malaysia is an Islamic state a patriot?
Secondly, who is the model of a Malaysian patriot? One would imagine that all the guest speakers at the three-day National Patriotism Congress are held up as models of Malaysian patriots.
Going through the three-day programme, I find that one of the guest speakers is none other than Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli who will be speaking on “Patriotism and Globalisation”.
Tajuddin has been in the news lately, with Technology Resources Industries (TRI) suing him and two ex-directors to recover RM56 million ringgit in controversial payments bordering on unethical practices.
Tajudin is also a household word because of his role in the notorious RM1.8 billion MAS bailout, for which a proper accounting has still to be made to the Malaysian taxpayers.
It is most shocking that Tajudin will be one of the guest speakers to preach to top political leaders, in government and opposition, on the meaning of patriotism, which is a contempt for the whole system of governance, which raises the question whether the whole congress should be cancelled.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman