If the father of the nation was alive today, one wonders what he would make over the present tug-of-war over the “naming rights” of our 55 th Merdeka Day celebration.
What would the late Tunku Abdul Rahman say of the words and actions of some so–called leaders who have soiled Merdeka Day and the memory of his legacy and our nationhood?
Never has Merdeka Day — a unifying factor for all Malaysians — if only for a day — been relegated to a source of divide and a pawn in the political one-upmanship of those to whom we have entrusted this country to.
From slogans, songs, themes and logos, who has the right to claim exclusivity in naming our National Day festivities?
Shame on the ruling coalition and federal authorities for abusing Merdeka by plugging not-so-subtle political messages that resemble a re-election campaign rather than a celebration of nationhood.
Shame on the opposition and the administration of the four states it governs for pretending to be the bigger person, only to succumb to the temptation of participating in a game of one up-manship.
Shame on us Malaysians for not speaking up earlier to protect the sanctity of our Merdeka.
Merdeka Day belongs to all Malaysians. Period. There are no two ways about it. Our forefathers did not gain independence exclusively for members of the Alliance and those who supported it. They gained independence for all.
It is this independence that we have that has allowed the healthy growth of politicians and political parties.
How often have we heard the line that Merdeka is to celebrate our diverseness? This is not confined to superficial diversity in the form of our culture, ethnicity and faith; but also our beliefs, ideologies and yes, political affiliation.
This is what being truly independent is all about — where we resist the urge to go down a road we would not normally take but rise above the occasion for the benefit of our country and our fellow Malaysians.
The politicians who have been sparring in the Press over the last two weeks have lost the golden opportunity to rise beyond themselves and show us that they are true leaders in every sense of the word.
What they have demonstrated are pettiness, immaturity and a total lack of class that questions their ability to represent, much less lead us.
But what can you expect of some politicians where everything goes and nothing is sacred? Sadly, there is a deafening silence from so-called elder statesmen. There is no solitary voice that has called for a “laying of arms” or a truce — for everyone to put their differences aside and celebrate Merdeka day together under one common theme of togetherness.
No one — be it at federal or state level — have invited their political opponents to celebrate Aug 31 as ordinary Malaysians, grateful for this country and what our Motherland has bestowed on us, and to remember the sacrifices of those who had come before.
Unfortunately at a time when we should be celebrating our nationhood and “independence”, there are those who are still trying to shackle us with their divisive politics that flies in the face and spirit of Merdeka.
As ordinary Malaysians in this page demand: Stop the colonisation of Merdeka!
Our independence Day is sacred and is off limits to individuals and organisations who hope to score brownie points for personal gain by its misuse.
If we, ordinary Malaysians allow politicians — irrespective of affiliation — to hijack Merdeka, then we are still, in essence still shackled and colonised by the selfish agenda of others.