Kadir should not debase and dishonour the final five months of the 22-year Mahathir premiership by plunging the country into a divisive controversy over his baseless questioning of the patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Wednesday): Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister, Datuk Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir, should not debase and dishonour the final five months of the 22-year Mahathir premiership by plunging the country into a divisive controversy over his baseless questioning of the patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese and their love and loyalty to Malaysia.
It will be sad and pathetic if the final months of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s longest premiership in the nation’s history is to be remembered by the myopic controversy precipitated by Kadir over the love, loyalty and patriotism of Malaysian Chinese to the country – as Kadir’s “No…But….” clarification yesterday is totally unsatisfactory and unacceptable.
Last year, Mahathir spoke of the failure of the national education system and is Kadir now suggesting that the entire nation-building policy has also failed?
Kadir, as Chairman of the National Day Celebrations organizing committee, may have decided 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 on the people of Malaysia without their consent, participation and involvement.
Furthermore, is Kadir seriously suggesting that a flag-waving Malaysian is more loyal and patriotic than a non-flag-waving Malaysian? For that matter, is a Minister automatically more loyal and patriotic than a non-Minister? If a Minister can question the loyalty and patriotism of the people, can ordinary citizens question the loyalty and patriotism of Ministers for their failure to stand up for justice, freedom, democracy and good governance to forge a nation all Malaysians can hold their heads high in the world? Can a national poll be conducted as to which Minister is the least patriotic?
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.
Let the 46th National Day be celebrated in a completely new and different manner – by engaging the Malaysian people in a nation-wide quest for the attributes and qualities of love, loyalty and patriotism for a multi-racial, multi-lingual, multi-cultural, modern, progressive, democratic and secular Malaysia with Islam as the official religion based on the 1957 Merdeka constitution and the social contract - but first of all, Kadir should withdraw and apologise for his baseless and unwarranted aspersion on the loyalty and patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman