A meaningful Merdeka

As I was minding some of the news that appeared on my Facebook wall, one particular headline caught my attention. It is an article written by Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi, entitled A Meaningless Merdeka. The title is provocative enough that it somehow piqued my interest. It is just that I did not have a chance to read it right away. So that I did not forget, I saved it into my Evernote, with the hope that I might have some time to read it over my coffee. With some time to spare last weekend, I managed to run through the article over my coffee.

I did not know Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin personally. A quick check on Google, he comes out to be a Professor in the School of Architecture and Built Environment at UCSI University.

So there was I, engrossing through the article word by word.

As I go deep and deep into the article, I could not help but feel sorry for him. Right from the beginning, he comes out very racist towards his kind. He comes out very harsh from the beginning to say that us the Malay was the sole reason why Malaysia is going down on the path of destruction. He sees no more hope for the country, and the Malays will eventually destroy ourselves and eventually others during the process. There were many examples that he highlighted that reflects why we are moving in that direction. Among some of the examples that were highlighted was the case of Dr Zakir Naik, the appointment of Tun Dr M as the new Prime Minister, the impending collaboration between Pas and UMNO, the statements that were issued by the Mufti of Perlis as well as the Malaysian academia who seems to be engrossed with only producing an irrelevant research paper that may not have a huge impact to the social and political development of the country.

And because of that, and being a self-proclaimed expert in predicting success and failure, he concluded that Malaysia is a failure. We are destined to become the first to be accolade as a fourth-world country. And the rant continue and continue until the end that I decided to stop halfway through the article to reflect, what has us the country did that deserve such a conclusion?

I for one do not agree to whatever is being said in the article. Some of the examples that were highlighted does indeed give the impression that we are disagreeing that bordering racial and religious issue, but those alone can’t possibly doom us into the oblivion. And to be honest, it is not a Malay issue per se. It is the collective response by various kind within the country that put is into the situation in the first place. Why were the issues that relate to other races such as Chinese and Indian were conveniently left out in the article? What about the recent incident of the introduction of Khat that was fervently opposed by the Chinese and Indian community across the country? How about the recent calls by certain Chinese ministers on the boycott of products that were manufactured by the non-Muslim supplier? How about the requirement to have “Mandarin-speaking” as part of your skill when applying for a new job? There were so many other that I can’t even begin with to be put as part of the example here.

The pending marriage between UMNO and PAS was not something new. The pact has been tested during the 70s when PAS joined the Alliance, the main party that evolved soon to become the Barisan National. It was not a long-living alliance though, as they decided to split up after the election in 1974. The alliance is also very normal in any democratic society. The current DAP and PKR parties have struck a pact with PAS during the last PRU13. What makes that arrangement bad compared to the one that BN and PAS are currently mooting? I just could not fathom the idea that it will bring our country to the edge of bankruptcy.

The whole article also reeks of racial stigma. Reference of Malay dominations in academic, civil service and public schools were apparent. The use of bigotry and ethnocentric self-delusion should not be used at all. While it is agreeable that the majority of these services are dominated by the Malay, the same can also be said about the private practices that were dominated by the non-Malay community. There are a lot of documented cases of racial biases that happened within the private sector. It can be a subject of its own, but Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin has conveniently excluded the example.

UEC was another contested point that was highlighted in the article prominently. It is an issue that has been championed by the Chinese political parties; regardless it is from the previous and present government. Much has been talked about how UEC has deviated away from assisting the country to harmonize the country’s inter-racial integration. This is far cry from the national syllabus that was taught in the national school. To come out boldly with the statement that only UEC can be the only saviour to the country shows the lack of ignorant of the writer on why there is a strong rejection to recognize the subject as one of the mainstream education for the nation. Malaysia has not been able to progress as one nation as the existence of vernacular school has hampered this exercise. We can take a cue from the countries such as Thailand, Singapore or Indonesia, where the integration of multi-racial within those countries was successful as they were educated under a single system. It does not mean that UEC is not a good system. There are positive elements that can be adopted into our education system. The main point is to have one single system for the whole country, thus national integration can be done a lot more smoothly.

We have to go back to the original spirit of independence. All that have been mentioned in the above are real issues. The state that we are in is not due to the action of one race or the other. Everybody plays a role in putting us in the current situation and it is everybody responsibility to work together to bring us out from this stronger than ever. We may indeed miss the opportunity to save this motherland after we have dethroned a single party that has been dominating this country for 62 years. But it is just a setback. It is just one imperfection over the journey towards a greater height. Yasmin Ahmad once said, “It is perfect to be imperfect because perfection is made up of many imperfections put together”. If we can stand and fight for the past 62 years of imperfection, have some faith and do not discount that Malaysia Boleh. To Prof Dr Mohd Tajuddin, I am sorry that I cannot agree with you on this. Your myopic view on this whole issue is surely disappointing as I expect something better from the people of your ranking. I am sure your Merdeka can be more meaningful if you expand your view a little bit and realize things are more than what it seems.

Sayangi Malaysiaku. Malaysia Bersih

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