I just spoke in a public forum entitled "We are all Patriotic" at Excelsior Hotel in Ipoh.
During question time in Parliament on 9th of November, the Minister of Defence was asked on the breakdown of intake into the armed force according to races.
He replied that for the year 2009, a total of 8151 were recruited. The racial breakdown according to races is Malays 90% Chinese 0.26% Indians 0.91%, Bumiputras Sarawak and Sabah 8.8%.
He further said a total of 9,054 were appointed as new officers and other ranks in the past two years while 14,749 were hired from 2007-2009.
He said among the reasons for non-malays not keen in joining the armed forces was because
non-malays are lacks patriotism. Defence Minister made a baseless and insensible statement that the reason why very few non-malays join the armed forces are because they lack patriotism.
Although Defence Minister Zahid tried to explain that he did not question the patriotism of the non Malays and that he did not mean to hurt their feelings, the fact is that he is guilty of both.
Let me ask Zahid how will he feel if he is told that his sense of patriotism is not strong
because he does not join the army?
Zahid’s insensitive, baseless, unfair and irresponsible reply hurt so many people that even BN MPs openly criticized him.
In fact even retired generals came out to whack him. Rear Admiral ( rtd) K Tanabalasinam said, I don’t understand how such a statement came about….I have been through a lot and don’t care who says it, it hurts me . I am a Malaysian born and bred and intend to die here.
Brig General (rtd) Goh Seng Toh described Zahid’s statement as “unfair, stupid and racist”.
In Mid November, Zahid challenged me to join the Territorial Army to prove my patriotism. Was he not saying that if you don’t join the army, you are not patriotic?
Let me tell Zahid that I don’t have to prove my patriotism to him or prove it by joining the army.I was born here and shall die here. I shall defend the nation’s sovereignty and integrity.I am patriotic because I fight hard for a Malaysian Malaysia.
It is regrettable that no MCA or MIC Members of Parliament had stood up to support my censure motion against Zahid yesterday. None even stood up to at least debate on the issue. This again goes to show that UMNO is the big brother and others in the BN are the small brothers. Ketuanan UMNO exists in the BN coalition.
In western democratic nations, if a Minister has made similar remarks by Zahid, he will have to resign his post or face the sack. But here he is even supported by MCA and MIC MPs who have earlier criticized his remarks.
In the BN Convention, the prime minister Najib said that BN must get rid of 4 diseases, namely delusion, inertia, amnesia and arrogance. It is obvious that Zahid is still inflicted with the big disease of Arrogance. So arrogant that he did not even have to withdraw his remarks and tender an apology for it.
We cannot have any educator who will tell the students to go back to China or India. Neither can we have a Minister who questions the patriotism of the people.
Let’s teach Zahid and BN a lesson by supporting PR in the coming general election.