All the 193 MPs should make known their stand to Cabinet before Wednesday whether they want the Negaraku to be reinstated to its 1957 form or support a third version of the national anthem to be played on National Day without proper national consultation and mandate
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): All the 193 Members of Parliament, whether Barisan Nasional, DAP or Barisan Alternative, should make known their stand to the Cabinet before Wednesday whether they want the Negaraku to be reinstated to its 1957 form or support a third version of the national anthem to be played on National Day without any proper national consultation or mandate, such as a parliamentary vote.
Sunday Star reported today that more versions of the national anthem have been submitted to the Cabinet which has until Wednesday to decide whether it will go ahead with its decision to “revitalize” the national anthem with a “more patriotic feel”.
It said that several variations of the new anthem where the word “Negaraku” would be replaced by “Malaysiaku” had been submitted over the past three weeks to the Cabinet, including by the National Symphony Orchestra, RTM orchestra as well as the army and police force orchestras.
It offends the Rukunegara objective to “maintain a democratic way of life” that the entire process to introduce a third version of the national anthem in 46 years had been cloaked in such secrecy with the total exclusion of the general public.
Malaysians are entitled to know the reasons why the government is tinkering with the third version of the national anthem in 46 years, less than three months before the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad steps down after more than 22 years in the highest office in the land, without any proper national consultation or mandate.
Malaysians have the right to insist that they should not be presented with a fait accompli on National Day on August 31 with a third version of the national anthem, foisted on the nation by the decision of a handful of people.;
Eleven years after the arbitrary, ill-considered and unauthorized change of the national anthem in 1992 to a marching rhythm, the government has conceded that it was a big flop, as it failed to “invoke the patriotic passion” because of the loss of the “essence of the national identity” – which is fully agreed by Malaysians as the second version of the national anthem “fails to arouse the kind of zeal normally associated with an anthem”.
Members of Parliament should make their stand known to the Cabinet, whether by email, telegram or public statements before the Cabinet meets on Wednesday to decide on a third version of the national anthem in 46 years and I call on them to take an unanimous position to call on the Cabinet to reinstate the Negaraku to its 1957 form and that there should be no change to the national anthem without a proper national consultation and mandate.
Any change of the national anthem is a serious national decision which must not be rushed or decided hastily a few days before the National Day, but must be the subject of months of extensive and comprehensive national deliberation in keeping with its national importance and capability to encapsulate the “national soul”.
DAP hereby gives notice that if the Negaraku is changed for a third time in 46 years on August 31 without a proper process of national consultation and mandate, including a parliamentary vote, we will only recognize the Negaraku in its original form as decided by a panel of judges headed by Bapa Malaysia and the first Malaysian Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman before Merdeka in 1957.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman