Is it unpatriotic to question the politicisation of National Day by the government of the day by the Perikatan Nasional (PN) states? The so-called "patriots" may be jumping up and down over the latest kerfuffle over the National Day theme, but let us try and think outside the box for a minute and see whether the so-called "green wave" has a point.
There is no doubt that the copywriters who thought up the imaginative National Day theme with the word choices of "Madani", "Harapan", and "unity" were trying to brown-nose their political bosses after the poor showing at the recent state elections. It is also nothing more than a veil of deceit designed to mask authoritarian tendencies and suppress dissenting voices. These themes are, in fact, amateurishly crafted doublespeak that manipulates the emotions of the populace while conveniently diverting attention from the real issues plaguing the nation.
Under the guise of promoting "Madani" or "Harapan" in the National Day theme, the government is attempting to project an image of inclusivity and progressiveness. However, this is nothing but a smokescreen to deflect from the increasing erosion of civil liberties and human rights.
The government selectively embraces unity rhetoric while suppressing any form of diversity that challenges its grip on power. Dissent is labelled as a threat to unity, thereby stifling legitimate criticism and entrenching the government's authority.
Does 'unity' include the LGBT community?
The so-called "unity government" banning the Swatch rainbow watch is a glaring example of its hypocritical stance on unity. While professing to promote unity, it is only fostering a culture of intolerance and discrimination. This ban not only violates individuals' right to personal expression but also underscores the government's inherent prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community. It is clear that the government's version of unity is nothing but uniformity enforced through fear and coercion. And if this is not the "green wave" we were warned against during the last state elections, what is?
Does the national ethos allow discussion of Marxian economics?
The recent raid on Toko Buku Rakyat and the confiscation of books on Marx further expose the government's insidious motives. Under the pretext of preserving harmony, it is systematically dismantling intellectual discourse and diversity of thought. The ban on books that offer alternative perspectives reveals the government's insecurities and its fear of ideas that challenge its narrative. This undermines the very foundation of a democratic society and promotes a culture of intellectual stagnation. Or will the prime minister, like his former doyen, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, claim that this action was not his but that of his home minister?
The supposed "green wave" threat highlighted by the government is another cynical ploy to manipulate public sentiment. While fundamentalist concerns are undoubtedly important, it is a tactic used to divert attention from more pressing issues like corruption, lack of transparency, and economic inequality. By focusing on this "green wave" threat, the government avoids accountability for its own failures, such as banning the Swatch rainbow watches, and avoids addressing the root causes of Malaysia's challenges.
In conclusion, the Malaysian government's use of politically nuanced National Day themes is a calculated strategy to maintain power while eroding democratic values. The themes of "Madani", "Harapan", and "unity" are a facade that conceals its true authoritarian nature. The ban on Swatch LGBT watches and confiscation of books on Marx demonstrate the government's hypocrisy and its stifling of diversity and dissent.
This episode serves as a reminder that the National Day celebrations, while ostensibly intended to foster unity, can also be arenas for the expression of political agendas that may not always align with the greater good. As the years go by and Malaysia continues to evolve, it is essential to remember the double standards and deviations that have marked the nation's history.
Only through an informed and discerning citizenry can Malaysia truly progress towards the ideals of unity and progress that its national themes profess to uphold.
Kua Kia Soong is a human rights activist.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.