Najib did not conduct himself as Prime Minister for all Malaysians when he divided the people on Merdeka Day

Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not conduct himself as Prime Minister for all Malaysians when he divided the people on Merdeka Day and urged Malaysians to “defend independence” against Pakatan Rakyat.

In his closing speech at the “Merdeka 55: Janji ditepati” gathering at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium last night, Najib called on the audience “to defend the nation’s independence from enemies and the opposition alike”. (Malaysiakini/The Malaysian Insider)

He said:

"Ladies and gentlemen, remember that independence only knocks once for any nation. Let us close ranks and defend our independence with a solid front, at every corner and at any time.

"Even more so when enemies and the opposition are trying to bring chaos into the situation.”

This the final and ultimate proof that the 55th Merdeka Day celebrations had been hijacked by UMNO/Barisan Nasional as part of their desperate gambit to hang on to power in the impending 13th General Election – which had been evident when the UMNO/BN election theme of “Janji Ditepati” had been imported lock, stock and barrel to be elevated as the 55th Merdeka Day/49th Malay Day theme.

However, Najib cannot be more wrong, as UMNO/BN leaders cannot claim monopoly to patriotism or nationalism just because they are in power.

As I had often said in Parliament, the real patriots and nationalists of Malaysia are not those who abuse their powers and positions while in office and who are corrupt to the core, but those who are prepared to make sacrifices and pay the price for standing up for the fundamental rights of ordinary Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, even going to jail and lose their personal liberties, so as to speak truth to power.

I find it very sad and more a reflection on Najib as Prime Minister that he should be casting such aspersions on the Opposition in his National Day speech – for on a national celebration like Merdeka Day, all Malaysians regardless of race, religion, region or political differences, should be able to put aside their political differences for at least 24 hours and come together as one Malaysian people.

If the Prime Minister cannot set such an example, can we blame the Cabinet Ministers for failing to measure to such a standard?

I also feel sad at the Malaysiakini report “Propaganda comics colour Najib’s Merdeka bash” by reporter Ahmad Fadli NC, debunking the claim that the Bukit Jalil 55th Merdeka Day celebrations was a truly national celebration, rising above partisan differences, and not a blatant UMNO/BN event.

The Malaysiankini reported:

The circulation of propaganda comics at the Bukit Jalil Merdeka celebrations yesterday puts a question mark on government’s claim that their celebrations are apolitical.

The 20-page comic titled ‘Promises Fulfilled By The PM For The Rakyat’ piles praise upon the government’s initiatives, while making subtle jibes at the opposition.

The mystery publication by anonymous artists was given out for free at the stadium before start of the event that featuring Prime Minister Najib Razak.

On one of its pages, a couple is arguing over spending their RM100 school handout on groceries. The wife berates the husband saying they have no more money as he has spent everything by “frequenting the ceramah”.

In another, a young man raves angrily that he can no longer “demonstrate and harass people” since the Internal Security Act (ISA) was abolished.

In both cases, the men are depicted wearing a white kopiah and green baju Melayu, and are always criticising the government’s schemes such as the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) RM500 cash handout to poor families.

The character appears five times throughout the comic book.

On page 12, a man is shown raising his arms to heaven as if praying, but instead offering praise to the PM for the curtains he has afforded to purchase at the Kedai Kain Rakyat 1Malaysia (1Malaysia fabric store).

On page 9, a man is scolded for being ‘berotak Yahudi’ (behaving like a Jew) for wanting to slander BN by using black magic on ballot boxes.

These cartoons, which have all the fingerprints of pro-BN propaganda, are packaged in a colourful booklet whose cover is bright and cheery in the style of BN campaign artwork, and includes a loud poster that reads ‘We love the PM’.

Was the Bukit Jalil Stadium National Day celebrations planned deliberately to embarrass Pakatan Rakyat leaders who attended the occasion and to divide along BN/PR lines? An explanation from Najib will be most appropriate.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur