Abdul Kadir, Mohamed Nazri, Ali Rustam are among the Barisan Nasional leaders who should be sent to a compulsory basic  civics course to understand that flag-flying and waving  is not the  yardstick of patriotism

Media Statement
Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling JayaTuesday): In May this year, Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Paduka Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir made the totally unwarranted, gratuitous and offensive attack on the patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese when he alleged that the Malaysian Chinese lacked  patriotism and were  ungrateful, claiming as evidence the failure of his committee’s “Raise-the-Jalur-Gemilang” campaign among the Malaysian Chinese. 

Three months have passed and the Malaysian Chinese are still waiting for Kadir’s  apology  for his outrageous and scandalous attack on their  love, loyalty and patriotism for the nation. But Kadir has not learnt any lesson at all, as he has expanding the scope of his attack from the Malaysian Chinese to all Malaysians.

In Malacca on Sunday, Kadir expressed his disappointment over the public's reluctance to fly the Jalur Gemilang in conjunction with the Merdeka Month celebration.

He said: "I am very sad, it has been four years since the government changed the Merdeka celebration concept (to one month from Aug 17 until Sept 16), but many are still reluctant to fly the Jalur Gemilang.”

He said this reflected the people's lack of patriotism for the country, which ultimately could give rise to detrimental consequences.

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 

DAP commends  the National Civics Bureau Director-General Datuk Dr Nordin Kardi who  disagreed with Kadir and said yesterday that raising and flying the Jalur Gemilang is not the actual yardstick to gauge an individual's patriotism as  contributions towards the nation's development was more indicative of a person's patriotism. (Bernama)

Dr Nordin said refraining from committing acts detrimental to the nation's sovereignty and interests was another significant indication of the patriotism level.

He said: "Flying the Jalur Gemilang during the Merdeka Month celebrations could be a gimmick to show love for the country.  To me, the individual's contributions to the nation is the actual measure of patriotism."

He said patriotism could also be proven by rejecting bribes and other forms of corruption which might lead to the destruction of a nation.

He added: "If every worker in the public and private sectors works an extra 15 minutes a day, this will help the nation grow rapidly.  This effort is more practical and can be done anytime, not only during the Merdeka Month."

On this issue, the National Civics Bureau Director-General talks sense while the Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister talks nonsense, offending not only the Malaysian Chinese three months ago, but now the 23 million Malaysian people. Apologies from Kadir for both his offensive attacks on the patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese and the general Malaysian populace are in order.

The Cabinet tomorrow should take a serious view of such unwarranted, baseless  and insensitive statements questioning or downright attacking the patriotism of Malaysians not only by Kadir but also by other Barisan Ministers and state leaders, including Chief Ministers and Mentris Besar, for only flying the Jalur Gemilang on National Day instead of during the Barisan Nasional’s Merdeka Month.

Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, for instance, made the wild and outrageous statement that those who fly the national flag only on National Day but not during the Merdeka Month are   not only unpatriotic, but not fit to stay in Malaysia!

All narrow-minded Barisan Nasional leaders, whether national or state, like Abdul Kadir, his Ministerial colleage the Minister for Entrepreneur Development Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and  Ali Rustam  should be sent to attend  a compulsory basic  civics course to understand that flag-flying and waving  is not the  yardstick of patriotism.

As Dr. Nordin has rightly pointed out, Kadir and all Barisan Nasional Ministers and leaders should learn to differentiate between genuine patriotism from “pulp” patriotism which reduced  the solemn and meaningful occasion of the annual National Day into a silly season of flag-flying and waving in the Merdeka Month.

What is the accepted definition of patriotism in Malaysia? It should mean living up to the nation’s highest ideals with the mindset:  “Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right.”


* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman