Tunku Abdul Rahman was an icon of racial harmony and religious tolerance having married four wives, at different times that represented the different races.
As the one who facilitated the dakwah movement and established Perkim, he did more than any other Malay leader for his race and his religion and he was never a threat to non-Malays, while promoting religion unlike those who use Islam as a political weapon today. He never stooped to scapegoat any group be they of a different religion or race to elevate himself.
The Tunku was a gentleman and never expected to be betrayed but lived long enough to die disappointed and disillusioned when he saw his Merdeka dream dashed and the country become a ‘failed politically apostate state’ although unilaterally declared ‘an Islamic state’ by those who actions were anything but Islamic or even decent.
The political apostasy is the result of abandoning the Merdeka principles of democracy, among others, that were meant to develop the fledgling nation. The new Merdeka nation was supposed to function like the British democracy fashioned after the Westminster parliamentary system.
Politics after Merdeka was not flawless, no system is, but took a different direction when the Tunku was politically waylaid. After May 13, 1969 it suffered a heavy blow that has left the Merdeka nation in a political coma, and apostates and heretics of sorts continue to lead it astray.
On the economic front while Dr Mahathir Mohammed defends the system including the NEP and admits “there may be corruption involved in some cases”, he blithely dismisses his role in the ‘rotten administration’ that he left for his successor and did nothing about the cases of corruption despite the overwhelming reports made to the police.
While he did stimulate the economy with bold projects, the flip side under his leadership was that the country lost billions, RM100 billion according to author Barry Wain in his book Malaysian Maverick, and till today the bailouts continue.
But political apostasy can only accelerate during Mahathir’s tenure and the dysfunctional democracy today is the legacy for which he can take full credit.
It remains the tragedy and huge regret in Malaysian history because those crucial years could have been the golden opportunity to transform the nation according to the Merdeka ideals if there had been ‘clean, efficient and trustworthy’ governance.
The trouble with political apostates is their ruthlessness and hypocrisy. And the political apostasy has become more brazen and by now the political apostasy has plumbed new depths because never in the history of the Merdeka nation has so many of its leaders been tainted with criminal conduct, either convicted, or facing charges.
It does seem like a joke to send young Malaysians to a national camp to teach them discipline and patriotism today.
The Arab Spring is spreading
Politicians of the Merdeka era were not all paragons of virtue, but their inappropriate conduct was nothing compared to what goes on today.
The government must awake to the awful truth that the country has lost its way when it seems no one is in control even though two are at the controls.
If American John Mallot and Englishwoman Clare Rewcastle Brown take the trouble to help Malaysia become a better nation by exposing corruption and political tyranny, it is time for every Malaysian to do something for the sake of their lost nation. Those who sit on fences end up being sat and spat upon.
A school friend now retired is busy telling others to do their bit for the country and clean up the electoral system. Claiming political allegiance to no party, she wants to save her country so ‘I can go to my grave in peace.’ What altruism and the Tunku would have been proud of her.
We saw the former President Hosni Mubarak win a landslide election with more than 90% of votes in his favour. His opponents were astounded. But we have seen the truth instead in the Arab Spring. It is easy to rig the votes when you control almost everything and put up the pretence of democracy.
Corrupt leaders who play ‘let’s pretend’ are biding their time everywhere. Their game is up. Colonel Gadaffi pretended to live a simple life but media reports showing his captured luxurious private jet with a jacuzzi and the trappings of a billionaire lifestyle are a warning that the same hypocrisy happens elsewhere even in Malaysia.
On Merdeka day when Malaysians proudly fly their Jalur Gemilang, it may help them to add a moment of sober reflection on what they are flying and if it meets the standard of its proud “stripes of excellence” that the flag symbolizes.
What is excellent about the government today?
Lamenting like broken record
I am sure many writers are eager to write something on it. But lamenting on its sorry state has become more common and sounding like a broken record crying out to be fixed. A chameleon may change its appearance but not its nature. 1Malaysia, Bangsa Malaysia – nice ideas but what happened to Merdeka the nation for all?
Why victimize Muslims who get practical help from Christians because they were let down by their own and then falsely get accused for religious apostasy? And those who help them get blamed for proselytizing? Why attack Malaysians who are proving that action speaks louder than words by being good neighbours to one another and living in the spirit of Merdeka?
Henry Ward Beecher, the American clergyman, social reformer, abolitionist and speaker, said, “A thoughtful mind, when it sees the Nation’s flag, sees not the flag only, but the Nation itself: and whatever may be its symbols, its insignia, he reads chiefly in the flag the Government, the principles, the truths, the history which belongs to the Nation that sets it forth.”
Whatever Malaysians think about their country they can’t deny it is not what it should be and could be because it has strayed from the altruistic agenda of genuine national development and the ideas and values enshrined in the Merdeka nation.
The country has become a haven for foreign and local criminals, racketeers, corrupt polticians and looters and like the British nation, it now faces its ‘moral crisis’ except the British Prime Minister David Cameron has owned up to theirs but his Malaysian counterparts are still relying on spin and have been exposed by the recent ‘pay for publicity’ scandals that have embarrassed them and the BBC and CNN.
The real problem is political apostasy underpinned by a moral crisis.
More critical is, what is the solution?