By TK Chua
I think we can all agree that loving our nation is different from loving the ruling government. If not, citizenship and changing the government of the day would have no basis to co-exist.
I believe the Jalur Gemilang is the symbol of our nationhood. Loving the Jalur Gemilang shows we love our country. To be honest, I cannot wait to hear the NegaraKu sung and the Jalur Gemilang hoisted in one of the coming Olympic award ceremonies in Rio this time around.
Loving our nation and all the symbols that represent it should rightly come from our hearts. It must be a spontaneous and voluntary action, not a fake one born out of coercion or threat of punishment.
Now let me come back to the decision by the Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) to fine businesses failing to fly the Jalur Gemilang during the National Day “season” from August 15 to September 16 each year. According to the council’s president, a compound fine of up to RM1,000 will be imposed on those who fail to display the national flag during the stipulated period. Flying the national flag is supposed to encourage the spirit of patriotism among residents and to enliven the National Day celebrations.
How much does a Jalur Gemilang cost now, RM30? Is this the price of patriotism and loyalty in Malaysia today?
I think it is not right to coerce the business community to fly the national flag. It is akin to forcing them to make a declaration without taking into consideration their true feelings.
For goodness sake, why can’t we leave the decision to fly the Jalur Gemilang or not to the people. Let them do it of their own free will. Sometimes people fail to “cheer up” an occasion because they are too occupied with other issues or problems – like for example, GST, the high cost of doing business, falling revenue, poor market sentiment, tax burdens et cetera.
To me, paying taxes honestly and on time is more patriotic than flying a national flag or having our leaders talking about goals and visions.
By all means the authorities should encourage, but never ever resort to coercion, when it comes to showing patriotism.
Forcing the people to be patriotic is only going to create more frustration.
TK Chua is an FMT reader.
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