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Monday, August 29, 2016

Patriotism or party loyalty?


It does not matter if it is an Umno Baru-controlled state like Perak, a Pakatan-led state like Selangor, or an Umno Baru minister in Putrajaya. The leaders are men with simple minds who equate flag-flying with patriotism.
Men who will fine us RM1,000 for failing to fly the Malaysian flag outside our business premises. Men, like former communications and multimedia minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek, who in 2013 threatened cinema-goers with arrest if they failed to stand to attention for Negara Ku before the start of the film.
As a simple analogy, would tudungless women become more religious if they were forced to cover their heads? Does it mean that a woman who does not cover her hair is less devout? Is the Christian who wears a crucifix around her neck more pious than one who does not? Is the working mother less loving and capable than one who stays at home?
The latest bungle which wrongly connects patriotism with flag-flying was made by the president of the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ), Nor Hisham Ahmad Dahlan.
On Aug 12, Nor Hisham said that in 2017, businesses would be required to fly the flag for one month from Aug 16, or risk a RM1,000 fine.
One week later, the MPSJ made a U-turn.
Do these councillors ever listen to the rakyat? Do they read the papers? Do they think?
In August 2010, the erstwhile Ipoh City mayor, Roshidi Hashim, warned that businessmen who failed to fly the flag outside their premises on National Day, and on the Sultan's birthday, would be fined and blacklisted. Within days, Roshidi made a U-turn.
Two decades ago, the national papers showed a photo of a teacher balancing precariously on the balustrade of a second-floor balcony. He was trying to fix a row of bunting for Merdeka day. The school was already adorned with bunting and thousands of flags.
Was the intention of the photo to show extreme patriotism? Well, it failed.
All one saw was a stupid man, with a complete lack of safety awareness, risking his life, perching precariously atop a balcony, one hand hugging the pillar, whilst the other hand attempted to secure the bunting to a wall. It was a disaster waiting to happen. The teacher failed to set a good example.
Will students learn to equate greater patriotism with the number of flags hoisted?
Defining patriotism
How does one define patriotism? One minister thinks that joining the armed forces is patriotic, whereas another Umno Baru politician thinks that patriotism can be inculcated by making incendiary remarks about Malays being killed. Many Umno Baru supporters equate patriotism with party loyalty.
In 2010, the erstwhile defence minister, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, told Parliament that the 2008/2009 armed forces recruitment was made up of 1.2 percent non-Malays and 98.2 percent Malays. He claimed that the low non-Malay recruitment was because non-Malays rejected the lower pay and feared tight discipline; but the remark which sparked outrage was his allegation that non-Malays showed a “low spirit of patriotism”.
In one insensitive remark, Zahid insulted the memory of the thousands of non-Malays who died defending Malaya, especially in the Second World War, and the Emergency. This is the judgment of the man who claims that the Malay gangster triad, Tiga Line, is his friend.
Two weeks ago, Malacca MB Idris Haron, justified his remarks about the “US wanting to kill Malays” as a means of instilling a sense of patriotism amongst the rakyat. Idris is a public relations and international diplomacy disaster. One wonders if he received his early education in North Korea, where anti-American indoctrination begins in kindergarten.
Meanwhile, the Federal Territories Minister, Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor, claimed that many Malaysians lacked enthusiasm and patriotism when celebrating the 59th Merdeka celebrations. He accused Malaysians of failing to appreciate the sacrifices which our forefathers made to ensure peace and stability. He also blamed the younger generation for their nonchalance in the run-up to Merdeka, this year.
Would Tengku Adnan like to know the secret of hosting an unforgettable Merdeka? We take our cue from the young and spirited Anis Syafiqah Mohd Yusof of the TangkapMO1 rally. The day Malaysian Official 1 (MO1) and his inner circle are caught is the day we will be liberated.
Catching an arch-criminal like MO1 should be a priority for Najib Abdul Razak and his cabinet. If they are unable to complete the task, they should all resign in shame. The theft of RM4.6 billion from the country’s economy is truly unpatriotic, and should not go unpunished.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). BlogTwitter. - Mkini

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