Patriotism in Malaysia

1747 Words7 Pages
The Malaysian Bar

Patriotism cannot be forced onto a Malaysian
Contributed by Charles Hector

The compulsory national service training 'programme is intended to foster the spirit of patriotism, encourage racial integration, and develop "positive and noble traits" among the younger generation' (Malaysiakini 13/6/2003). The targeted group is our youth of about 18 years. The object of this programme was expressed by Defence Minister Najib Tun Razak, who chairs the special cabinet committee. 'The programme will focus on basic military training, patriotic training and personal development including community service.' (Malaysiakini 17/6/2003) In the military, one is trained to follow orders of superiors without question. Would this be one of
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Suppression of patriots kills patriotism. The announcement by the Minister of the 'removal of the controversial clause in the National Service Bill which makes it an offence to incite others from not participating in the programme was retracted due to complaints from the public' (Malaysiakini 25/6/2003) must be applauded as a success for the cause for freedom of expression and as an example of a good leadership trait, ie of a leader that listens to voices of the Malaysian people. In tabling the Bill, the Minister was reported to have said that it is the responsibility of the people to ensure that multiracial Malaysia continues to be stable and strong to achieve development in view of various new attacks such as globalisation and liberalisation. Therefore, we cannot let the polarisation and alienated relation among races to continue. (Malaysiakini 25/6/2003). The national service training council is to have persons representing the major races. Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation. In Peninsular Malaysia, as an example, the major ethnic group cannot simply be said to be Malays, Chinese and Indians. Take Indians for example: they are in reality comprised of many ethnic groups like the Tamils, Telugus, Gujeratis, Punjabis, Malayalees and Goanese. Then there are also the Sri Lankan Tamils (Ceylonese)
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