(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): The programme of the three-day National Patriotism Congress for political leaders in the country raises many disturbing questions about the meaning of patriotism in Malaysia.
Yesterday, I raised several questions, in particular about the propriety of the selection of the guest speakers for the National Patriotism Congress as to whether they could be held up as models as Malaysian patriots, such as the case of Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli of Naluri who is featured in a New Straits Times report today, under the headline “Police to quiz ex-TRI trio”, that the “Police will summon three former Technology Resources Industries Berhad board members — Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli, his brother Bistamam and Datuk Lim Kheng Yew — for an interview in connection with the alleged ‘fictitious’ invoices for services adding up to RM259.3 million”.
The programme of the congress also raised other serious questions as to whether Malaysian patriotism is the monopolyof only one race and one political group in the country.
For instance, one of the five papers at the first session is “Patriotism and the Malay Race”. There are no papers pertaining to patriotism and the Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or the Ibans, raising the question whether as far as the organizers of the National Patriotism Congress for the political leadership is concerned, patriotism is irrelevant where the other communities are concerned.
This is not only a lopsided but an unpatriotic programme in disregarding the most important distinguishing characteristics of the Malaysian society and nation – its multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious character.
From the programme of the various guest speakers and paper presenters, one gets the impression that only UMNO leaders are entitled and qualified to talk about patriotism, as it is studded with UMNO leaders, such as the Defence Minister, Datuk Najib Tun Razak, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Haji Noh Omar, Dr. Adham Baba, Political Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Member of Parliament for Parit Sulong Datuk Ruhanie Ahmad.
There is not a single representative whether from the other Barisan Nasional component parties or from the Opposition.
With such a biased, unbalanced and unpatriotic programme, there is no way that the National Patriotism Congress can make any meaningful contribution to promote Malaysian patriotism in the country.
*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman