Something is very amiss in the air with the approach of the 56th National Day anniversary on Saturday.
Even the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek toyed with the idea of introducing a law to make it compulsory for every premises to fly the Jalur Gemilang through the month of Merdeka but he backed off three days later after admitting his extreme disappointment on discovery that government quarters in Putrajaya are not leading the example in flying the national flag.
He complained: “They are still waiting for the government to give them flags”.
Why is this so?
At the Pakatan Rakyat mega-rallies both before and after the 13th general elections on May 5, Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region, age or gender stood proud and tall to sing the national anthem when it was played – demonstrating their patriotism and love for the country.
Could such patriotism simply evaporate?
Of course not.
I agree with commentator Kee Thuan Chye that “patriotism is what you carry in your heart – your love for your country….It is something that makes you decide you will fight to protect it, perhaps even die for it.”.
As I had occasion to say in Parliament, it was because of my patriotism and love for the country, in pursuit of my Malaysian Dream for a better country for all Malaysians regardless of race, religion and region, that I was prepared to lose my liberty to be twice detained without trial under the Internal Security Act.
This is why I look askance at the “patriotism” of leaders who were prepared to wax rich through corruption and abuses of power at the expense of the people’s rights and national interests.
Invariably, those who shout loudest about “patriotism” are often the true knaves of the country, as there is considerable truism in Dr. Samuel Johnson’s famous saying: “Patriotism is the last resort of scoundrels.”
Return to the reality of present-day Malaysia.
For over a hundred days after the May 5 general elections, the majority of Malaysians from all races who had voted for Pakatan Rakyat had been maligned and the target of calumnies, and together with Chinese and Indian bashings, the Prime Minister and his government have failed to prove that they are Prime Minister and government for all Malaysians!
It is still not too late for Malaysians to celebrate the 56th National Day in unity and harmony – but the first step that must be taken is for everyone to acknowledge and respect the patriotism of the 51% of Malaysians who voted for Pakatan Rakyat and 47% who voted for Barisan Nasional in the 13th General Elections.