Monday 3 September 2012

Replacing the national flag: Chasing fantasy demons?

  • Kim Quek
  • 11:45AM Sep 3, 2012
COMMENT As tension continues to mount ahead of the imminent general election, almost the entire top hierarchy of the incumbent Barisan Nasional government appears to have gone bonkers.

Two apparently well-meaning youths displayed a flag that looked similar but different from the national flag as a token to commemorate unsung heroes of independence at an independence eve rally, and lo and behold, the entire top leadership of Umno jumped instantly into a frenzy of wild accusations against the opposition without any proof.

azlanPrime Minister Najib Abdul Razak accused the opposition of wanting to replace the national flag and warned of many more undesirable changes including the institution of royalty, should the opposition alliance come into power.

International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamed warned of a plot to amend the constitution and to turn the current constitutional monarchy into a republic.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Noh Omar said that in wanting to replace the national flag, the opposition has lost direction and shown signs of being power crazy even before they are in power.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said he would act decisively against the “perpetrators of the provocative act”, adding that the police have started investigations, and the attorney-general will prosecute upon obtaining sufficient evidence.

Many other Umno ministers also launched similar attacks against the opposition simultaneously, including Rural and Regional Development Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal and Youth and Sports Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek.

Meanwhile, the police announced on its Facebook page that it was launching a manhunt on the offenders who “tried to change the national flag”, saying that such act “violates the federal constitution and the democratic process”, which is a breach of the Sedition Act.

Accusation debunked

Amidst this furor, two youths promptly appeared on the scene to debunk the changing flag story.

NONEBlogger Serigala Selatan, a student, claimed in his blog posting that he and a friend Zairi Shafai were the duo with the flag in question, known as Sang Saka Malaya.

It was a flag used by pre-independence nationalists during their struggle to gain independence for then Malaya.

As the story of their struggles has been erased from official history, they wanted to remind the country of the existence of these forgotten heroes by displaying the Sang Saka Malaya on this commemorative occasion.

Serigala said they have not the slightest intention to replace the national flag (known as Jalur Gemilang) with Sang Saka Malaya, from which the Jalur Gemilang has evolved.

Meanwhile, top leaders of Pakatan Rakyat instantly and flatly denied that they ever conceived the idea of changing the national flag.

Hilarious but serious misconduct
Judging from the ferocity and intensity with which so many Umno ministers jumped to attack, one would have imagined that the opposition must have been caught red handed in the act of committing the highest treason against the country, but alas, the truth turns out to be simply that these senior Umno leaders have been acting like a bunch of hyper-imaginative kids chasing after some fantasy demons, as there is neither a shred of evidence nor any credibility whatsoever to their accusations.

lim kit siang unity govt bn pkr pas dapAs DAP leader Lim Kit Siang succinctly put it, “the change of (the) national flag is never a Pakatan Rakyat agenda and has never been discussed or raised in any Pakatan meeting”.

In fact, the entire episode is so bizarre and funny that it would have made a hilarious Hollywood comedy, if not for the serious implications it carries for the nation.

Here, we are not talking about some naughty politicians politicking, but the entire top hierarchy of the Malaysian government making unfounded accusations that are grave and obviously far-fetched.

Such weird conduct by the ruling clique suggests that they are either dim-witted or dangerously deceitful, or perhaps both.

Whatever case it is, it means our country is in terribly bad hands.

Needless to say, this is another serious setback for BN along its bumbling road to defend a political power that looks more precarious by the day.

KIM QUEK is a retired accountant and author of the banned book ‘The March to Putrajaya’.

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