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Pakatan reveals its ‘one’ Merdeka theme

 | August 1, 2012

Former national laureate A Samad Said says the theme best reflected the all-embracing spirit of the independence celebration.

PETALING JAYA: Pakatan Rakyat today announced an alternative Merdeka Day theme to the ruling coalition’s controversial “Janji di Tepati” (Promises Fulfilled).

“Sebangsa, Senegara, Sejiwa” or “One Race, One Country, One Soul” was picked after a committee of five sifted through 250 suggestions from the public in what could also be seen as an election campaign to highlight’s the opposition’s inclusive brand of governance.

Speaking to reporters at the PKR headquarters here, former national laureate A Samad Said said the suggestion, contributed by Khaimi Adam, was picked as it best reflected the all-embracing spirit of the independence celebration.

The campaign came after Pakatan politicians accused the Barisan Nasional government of hijacking National Day celebrations for its own political campaign with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak now touring the country under the Jelajah Janji Ditepati (Promises Fulfilled Tour).

The event was organised by TV3, the main station of private broadcaster Sistem Televisyen Malaysia Bhd (STMB) that was linked to the ruling party Umno.

The tour was seen as part of Najib’s campaign to remind voters that his government had carried out its pledges since he took office in April 2009.

The country’s sixth prime minister was bidding for his own mandate at the polls as he succeeded Abdullah Ahmad Badawi a year after the 2008 national polls that saw BN lose the popular vote, its customary parliamentary supermajority and five states.

‘Independence does not belong to BN’

Former tourism minister Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzil, who also sits on the Pakatan committee, criticised his former party for this year’s theme.

“I am very shocked at how BN used the National Day theme to campaign (for itself). Independence does not only belong to BN,” he said.

With the opposition-initiated campaign, Kadir said the alternative theme was again given back to the voters.

“It is a slogan suggested by the rakyat and is for the rakyat,” he added.

The ruling coalition was likely to reject any opposition-backed alternative to the theme although Putrajaya was forced to remove the logo following a nationwide uproar over suggestions that this year’s National Day celebration had been hijacked.

But Information Minister Rais Yatim defended the slogan on Twitter, saying that “everything can look bad if the mind is closed” in reference to growing criticism against the theme.

Another member of the committee, PAS secretary-general Mustafa Ali, said there was still time for Putajaya to make the changes and urged the ruling coalition to reconsider.


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