Kadir and Barisan Nasional leaders should not go overboard in accusing Malaysians for being disloyal and unpatriotic for flying the national flag only on National Day but not during the Merdeka Month
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Monday): Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir and Barisan Nasional leaders should not go overboard in accusing Malaysians for being disloyal and unpatriotic for flying the national flag only on National Day but not during the Merdeka Month.
Yesterday, Kadir expressed his
disappointment over the public's reluctance to fly the Jalur Gemilang in
conjunction with the Merdeka Month celebration, alleging that this
reflected the people's lack of patriotism for the country, which ultimately
could give rise to detrimental consequences.
Kadir must be forewarned not to repeat the baseless allegation of disloyalty and unpatriotism against the Malaysian Chinese, especially for two reasons, viz:
As chairman of the Merdeka Month Celebrations organizing committee, it is Kadir’s prerogative to judge the success of his committee’s “Keranamu Malaysia” programmes by the number of Jalur Gemilang that is flown in the country – but he should not impose his own standards and definition of “patriotism” on the people of Malaysia without their consent, participation and involvement or distort the meaning of patriotism to equate it with the flying and waving of the national flag for the Merdeka month.
Kadir is seriously mistaken in believing that a flag-waving Malaysian is more loyal and patriotic than a non-flag-waving Malaysian, just as he would be very wrong to assume that a Minister is automatically more loyal and patriotic than a non-Minister
Instead of being purely obsessed with the externals, Kadir would have done Malaysia a greater national service if he had steered the annual National Day celebrations to focus on the essentials of love, loyalty and patriotism for the country – not just flag-waving but the real attributes and qualities of patriotism, such as the commitment to stand up for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to forge a nation all Malaysians can hold their heads high in the world!
In fact, there is a danger that Kadir is reducing the solemn and meaningful occasion of the annual National Day into a silly season of flag-flying and waving in the Merdeka Month.
Kadir should have learnt some lesson from the recent anti-war movement in the United States, slandered and denounced by the mainstream American media, opinion makers and the Bush Administration as un-American, unpatriotic and even “crazy communists” – but applauded with appreciation by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as the true voice of justice and humanity.
Kadir, Ministers and Malaysians as a whole should ponder what it means to be patriotic, whether it should be reduced to flag-waving, always to be worn on one’s short sleeve and reduced to a public spectacle?
We should be on the look-out for make-believe patriotism or pulp patriotism or any other form of patriotism-on-the-cheap.
It has been said that when it comes to being patriotic, a lot of people are willing to “talk the talk” but how many are prepared to “walk the walk”, as having the courage of conviction to sacrifice position, titles and even personal liberty to stand up for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance for all Malaysians?
Can Kadir outline what price he had paid for his love, loyalty and patriotism for Malaysia before he casts aspersion on the love, loyalty and patriotism for the nation of millions of Malaysians, and in particular the Malaysian Chinese?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman