Today we may not be members of Umno, MCA or MIC but all of us are the legitimate descendants of that generation who played a significant role in the struggle for Independence, writes P Ramakrishnan.
It is a ridiculous to claim that only Umno. MCA and MIC have the right to decide the Merdeka Day theme because the founding members of these parties fought for and won Independence for the country.
This was stated by the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz. It is well known that his forte is in making statements that have very little merit!
Every Malay, every Chinese and every Indian was not a member of these communal parties then. Is he trying to assert that without the support of the vast majority of these communities who were not members of these parties, Umno, MCA and MIC successfully negotiated with the British for our Independence?
Common sense will dictate that there was no need for them to be members of any political party to support a just cause. Just because they were not members of any political party at that time that did not invalidate their support and influence in the quest for our freedom. Without the tacit support of the majority of people who were not members of these political parties, we could not have attained our freedom.
These people may not have been members of political parties, but many of them were not just ordinary people. They too were involved in societies and welfare organizations and wanted Independence for our country. There were civil society groups and the All-Malaya Council of Joint Action (AMCJA), the Kesatuan Melayu Muda (KMM) and the Persatuan Kebangsaan Melayu Malaya or PKMM – all involved in the fight for Independence. It was the sum total support of everyone that secured our freedom from colonial rule.
Today we may not be members of Umno, MCA or MIC but all of us are the legitimate descendants of that generation who played a significant role in the struggle for Independence. What was achieved then is also our heritage. This heritage is not the sole monopoly of Umno, MCA or MIC. All of us are inheritors of that heritage. Let this be not forgotten!
As citizens of Malaysia, we also have a right to be consulted and have the right to propose a theme for the Merdeka celebrations. To deny this responsibility – as the BN government is trying to do – is to display sheer arrogance of power and nothing else!
Thousands of Malaysians have rejected the theme and logo chosen by the BN government on the grounds that it smacks of Barisan Nasional’s political propaganda and it is absolutely unbecoming on this occasion. The Merdeka celebration must be above politics and must remain as a celebration that brings all the citizens together to rejoice in the memory of 31 August 1957.
But the BN government is being obstinate in wanting to go ahead with its decision for petty political reasons.
This is totally unnecessary. The BN’s stubbornness is alienating a sizeable number of Malaysians from jointly celebrating this auspicious occasion in the true spirit of Merdeka. That is a pity!
P Ramakrishnan, the immediate past president of Aliran, continues to serve on the Aliran executive committee.