‘National’ issues are distracting us from celebrating our national events as a united nation.
A TWEET on patriotism by my Twitter friend @domycw got me thinking.
On Aug 4, the 40-something Perakian, living in Kuala Lumpur, tweeted:
“We are 27 days to our nation’s 62nd Merdeka Day, yet everyone is concerned about:
2. Amateur pornography video.
3. Zakir whatever.
4. Dan lain2.
5. Who’s the next PM.
While in Singapore, I read how they are passionately preparing for their national day. #HariKemerdekaan”
I’m guilty of four out of the five issues that he had listed. Not sure what is “dan lain lain” (and others) but I’m probably guilty of being concerned about it too.
In my defence, as a journalist, the four issues – which might be trivial for some – are important.
They are hot topics because they are part of the political play in the country. Whether you like it or not, we need to discuss these issues to get a better understanding of them.
I’ll go through them.
The issue exploded when the public found out that the Education Ministry would introduce khat as part of the Bahasa Melayu subject for Year Four pupils next year.
The anger of some Malaysians against the Education Ministry’s decision was personified by a man who pelted the Menglembu DAP service centre with eggs over the Jawi calligraphy issue.
He felt the party he had voted had betrayed him now that it was in power.
Some use logic to discuss it. For example, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang said he learnt Jawi and it did not make him any less Chinese.
But in this emotive topic, logic can’t be used.
Some of those passionately opposing it are driven by emotion. It is also driven by mistrust of the government’s intention.
“The fear is this khat/Jawi thing is the beginning. The tip of the big toe had gained entry. Then the other toes and feet will enter. Endgame, ” an opponent of Khat WhatsApp-ed me.
Some of those against those who are against khat are also driven by emotions. There is mutual distrust between some Malaysian communities.
The khat controversy might have repercussions in GE15. Political analysts are debating whether the big losers will be DAP as some of their voters felt that their party had let them down.
Amateur pornography video?
I believe @domycw is talking about the sex video in room 2526 of Four Points Sandakan.
Yes, it is a sordid affair. I have written several columns on the topic. It is a dirty job, but someone has got to do it.
The sex video involves “bukan biasa-biasa” (a Datuk Seri Najib Razak catchphrase meaning “not the usual”) unknown males. There’s a serious allegation by the man, who confessed he was in the video, that the Economic Affairs Minister is the other man.
Like what Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said, it is a nefarious plot to bring him down politically. Although the noise on the sex video is now deafeningly silent, it is still a concern for us as it might influence how the House of Cards game, on who will be the next Prime Minister, is played.
Recently I wrote about “Who is afraid of Zakir Naik?” for my It’s Just Politics column. Some on Facebook posted why waste time writing about the controversial India-born preacher.
Instead of hiding Zakir in the attic as if he was an uncle we’re embarrassed of, we should discuss him openly.
To understand why some Malaysians are for or against the controversial preacher, we need to give space to their opinion as long as it is not seditious.
Who is the next PM?
As Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, who is special adviser on media and communication to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said big fund managers always asked him whether there would be a smooth transition of power in Malaysia.
Kadir was talking at the launch of Shahbudin Husin’s book Anwar PM Ke-8: Janji Serah Kuasa Yang Mesti Ditepati (Anwar The Eighth PM: A Promise To Transfer Power Which Must Be Fulfilled). The most asked questions were whether PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim would be the eight Malaysian Prime Minister and if not him, who.
We can’t run away from the issue as even though Dr Mahathir has promised to hand over power to Anwar, there is still uncertainty whether it will happen.
I asked @domycw to explain his tweet.
“I am particularly concerned about the lack of tolerance among Malaysians currently. When was the last time we sang our Negaraku with so much passion we have goosebumps? I remember a saying ‘It takes a war to unite a nation’ but we don’t need one, do we? “ he said.
He has a point. Perhaps as Merdeka and Malaysia Day approach, these issues are distracting us from celebrating our national events as a united nation.
We are too busy fighting ourselves about these issues that we forget that we are all in the same boat. If it sinks, we sink with it.
We in The Star have run several patriotic stories in the run-up to Merdeka and Malaysia Day. For example, we have a series about inspiring Malaysians in Eco World Development Group Bhd and Star Media Group’s #AnakAnakMalaysia Walk 2019 campaign.
On the night before the launch of the walk, I told a colleague, “It will be a fun event. We can forget about politics and focus on unity.”
The first question an #AnakAnakMalaysia influencer asked me at the launch was: “Is it really X in the sex video?”