Merdeka Is About Enhancing ‘Authenticity’ Not ‘Hypocrisy’ To Buttress Corruption
Emeritus Professor Tan Sri Dato' Dzulkifli Abdul Razak
Opinion - Bacalah Malaysia
August 23, 2023
Very soon the nation will be celebrating its 68th Merdeka anniversary – Hari Kebangsaan – that falls on August 31.
This is the one day that Malaysians from all walks of life can come together in solidarity to demonstrate how ‘united’ they are in a sovereign nation.
It could be traced back to the days of the struggle for independence against the various foreign colonial powers beginning with the Portuguese ending up with the British. That is not to say there were no domestic struggles within to jostle for power.
'But, it pales compared to the foreign powers that subjugated all the domestic rivalries. The latter were incomparable to the former in almost all aspects thus being reduced to mere pawns in the defence of the country.
Except in terms of patriotism and nationalism that keep on burning in the attempt to retain sovereignty in whatever way possible.
This is where the measures of authenticity come into being as a subtle force of resistance against the domineering powers. It respects no limits to enslave the indigenous population in particular.
And remains so even long after the colonial masters had disappeared.
Most pernicious is the subjugation of the ‘mind’ through the colonial formula of ‘divide-and-rule.’
Making it next to impossible to truly achieve ‘solidarity’ and demonstrate ‘unity’ in action.
All because of the practices of ‘divide-and-rule’ playing a dominant role in inducing hypocrisy, rather then authenticity.
So in celebrating Merdeka, the hypocrisy factor took centre stage, prominently displayed across the nation. It is superficially crafted to remember the bitter struggle as well as the bloody sacrifices of the past.
For instance, the D-days at Stadium Merdeka, a venue specifically named after the very event, is deserted on the very moment of the Merdeka anniversary. It is unlike the remembrance of the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9 in 1945, which could be likened to a declaration against the most barbaric colonial invasion of a sovereign country .
The respective events took place at same locations ever since emphasising the message of defiance and continued resistance against wars and aggressions not just for Japan but the world at large.
The gathering sends potent reminders to uphold the sovereign dignity of every nation across the globe in peaceful ways.
For Malaysia, however, the anniversary is more of showcasing how ‘successful’ the nation has been over the years which may be legitimate thus far, but certainly not during the post-pandemic period. Since the day Covid-19 pandemic hit the country, some three years ago, more and more gaps have been exposed in the fabric of our community that cannot be swept under the carpet anymore.
Among these are issues of corruption, integrity, ethics and morality, of resiliency, trust and empathy.
The list goes on and on. Jumping out of the existing cracks with many others that were overlooked, intentionally or otherwise for the past decades.
Social cracks are the worst, thanks to the colonial mantra of ‘divide-and-rule’ that have been insidiously embraced like that of colonial masters par excellence. Only this time we have the recent state election of 2023 to prove it beyond doubt!
Corruption has been singled out to be THE factor that coloured the overall results, but the corrupted are still firmly in place by cleverly employing the ‘divide-and-rule’ formula as part of their politics of doom!
The lack of consensus on the theme and logo for the event, speaks volumes of the lack of unity (perpaduan) and of hope (harapan) – the keywords for the impending contested elebration. Worst, this is said to be a repeat of some former experiences when members of the ruling party are in the opposition!
This is where the hypocrisy factor kicks in which on hindsight seems to be mere tip of the iceberg.
This is not so given numerous lists of U-turns that were executed since the 15th General Election, despite the promises made, and right up to now, for example in relation SOSMA, and of late the summarily banning of books, are tainted hypocritical manoeuvrings.
Authenticity has been largely overshadowed, turning Merdeka – in spirit, as the foundation for freedom – into a mockery through and through.
Simply put, the thematic celebration as announced is empty of the essentials to foster solidarity and hope, by more sadly, undermining the sacrifices of the genuine heroes, when hypocrisy is allowed to triumph over authenticity, falsehood over truth in misrepresenting what Merdeka stood for.
A sure sign of decay where corruption and hypocrisy become the new force to reckon with!
- The writer is the Rector of the International Islamic University Malaysia