January 31, 2017
Original intentions are usually captured in words, symbols, photographs and recordings, plus scripts of any event; whether intended by the co-organisers or not. Truth matters are recorded and captured in history of time; and such matters do tell the different truths of related observers.
If such a spirit of truth of those moments is missing in later life; the original actors and players, as witnessing observers,will revert to those words and phrases implying the original intentions!
Therefore recently, the Deputy President of UPKO and a minister in the current government of Sabah stated that they are not obliged to blindly follow all federal laws, especially those that do not accord with the Malaysia Agreement of 1963 (MA63).
I posted that news on Facebook and I received some legitimate views and opinions of objection about such a non-compliance with Federal Laws. They are valid concerns, but do not the jurisdiction of all such laws and practices involved, have a right to revert to the unconditional historical truths of both; the spirit of those laws, and also the actual words in legal documents?
One case study of our ‘Jalur Gemilang’
Does the flag of our federation therefore reflect such an arrangement of the three (formerly four) colonies of the British Commonwealth into one united nation-state? Those three constituents include the original federation (of 11 Malay states) plus two new states; to make the nation-state we now call Malaysia.
Our federation is also a full member of the United Nations of global nation-states with even some non-nation-states; but all considered entities within some legal but qualified recognition for membership. This includes Taiwan.
Now, let us review the flag of the Federation of Malaysia:
The flag of Malaysia, also known as the Jalur Gemilang (Malay for ‘Stripes of Glory’), is composed of a field of 14 alternating red and white stripes along the fly and a blue canton bearing a crescent and a 14-point star known as the Bintang Persekutuan (Federal Star).
What was the original logic of 14 alternating stripes with 14 points of the star? Can I proffer one logical guesstimate? The constituent member states (the composition with three original others) plus 11 members of the Federation of Malaya made for 14 states. But, today, about 54 years later, we have differing views about whether it should have been only three colonial states and cannot agree to reconstitute them as 14 equal states, per se. Some argue there are only three colonial states; never 14
I have now also heard this argument taught in schools that 14 include (the thirteen plus Federal Territory, to replace Singapore as the fourteenth). But as a rationalist and believer of all human logic systems, I would argue that it could never have been 14; if we understand mathematics of numerals with a base of 10.
Why thus I stopped flying the flag
Some years ago, at the height of federal abuse of Sabah and Sarawak, when most everyone came to full knowledge about the shenanigans of the federal government’s abuse of “Federal Constitution-ordained state rights”, it became obvious to me that Malaysia should have been called ‘Melayusia’ instead.
In my lexicon and language, Melayusia is the real and original Malay word that would have been framed if the original framers wanted to make the ‘Orang Melayu’ the Tuan or Master of all aspects of Malaysian life and therefore conditioning us to be coloured by Malay-Muslim logic systems.
That did not happen, and in fact, Sabah and Sarawak explicitly stated that they are not Muslim and will not accept Islam as their official religion. These views are well-documented.
Therefore, some years ago, I first met a Sabahan minister who challenged my “peninsular Malayan thinking” when he said to me, “We are not part and parcel of your social contract; we have a clear and legitimate membership directly as a result of the Malaysia Agreement 1963”. It only then dawned upon me the full meaning of what he meant about their real independence.
When the truths about that statement and their one-third state argument finally drove into my heart, I realised that as a neo-colonial Malayan, I had genuinely treated my brothers and sisters from Sabah and Sarawak with a post-colonial attitude and a subjugation mindset.
That very year, I wrote a column in Malaysiakini that explained why I could not honestly fly the Jalur Gemilang any more in my home. I have since stopped flying the flag which I had always saluted in the Royal Military College (RMC). I even explained my reasons to my children who grew up being taught to equally respect this symbol of our nation-state.
Integration with integrity
Some Old Puteras, or the alumni of the RMC, recently decided to launch a movement we call OPs4A; or OPs for Accountability on January 15, 2017. We hosted an event of OPs, by OPs, and for OPs plus their guests. We had some notable and a credible group friends and guests, including the Group of 25 (G25) members.
Our theme for the next three events also remains the same: ‘National Integration with Constitutional Integrity’. I was therefore rather amused when some formidable members of the alumni could not decipher this essential meaning of our theme.
Integrity is the adjective and integration is the verb, right? What then is the storyline we are creating or starting for our movement for change? Our honest and legitimate question to every member of our audience is therefore: Is Malaysia moving in the right direction?
Can the current direction and momentum result in our communities being integrated and can we do it clearly and honestly with the sense of integrity found and established in our Federal Constitution? That must be our only legal framing measure of our integrity, right?
Therefore the integrity of the tall and large Flag at the Dataran Merdeka of Malaysia depends on two kinds of constitutional integrity:
- Upward integrity of the flag being planted exactly 90 degrees upright and therefore fully aligned to the Federal Constitution of the 1957 and 1963 agreements.
- Outward integrity of policies and public positions taken on every issue and concern on behalf of all citizens, and in most cases also; non-citizens who are here with legal work permits in Malaysia.
May God bless Malaysia to move in the right direction. Truth always matters.