DAP calls for campaign of non-co-operation with Abdul Kadir until he withdraws and apologises for questioning and casting aspersion on the patriotism of Malaysian Chinese
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation should refuse to co-operate with the Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister, Datuk Kadir bin Haji Sheikh Fadzir, until he withdraws and apologises for questioning and casting aspersion on the love, loyalty and patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese to the country.
Kadir’s subsequent “No…But….” clarification is totally unsatisfactory and unacceptable as by reiterating his myopic patriotism test equating love of country with flag-waving, he had only compounded the aspersion he had cast on the patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese.
As chairman of the National Day 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.
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
However, when Kadir publicly doubts or casts aspersion on the loyalty and patriotism of an entire community in Malaysia, he has done something which is completely unacceptable and for which he must apologise without any caveat or qualification.
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?
All Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political affiliation, should find Kadir’s aspersion, bias and insensitivity doubly deplorable, not only for a new form of highly-objectionable communal stereotyping but for his reactionary definition of “patriotism”. This is why there should be a campaign of non-co-operation with Kadir unless he is contrite enough to withdraw and apologise for casting aspersion on the love, loyalty and patriotism of the Malaysian Chinese to the country.
Kadir should have learnt some lesson from the recent anti-war movement in the United States, slandered and denounced by the mainstream American media and opinion makers 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 patriotism-on-the-cheap which is easily reduced to a soundbite.
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 those of millions of Malaysians?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman