Loyal Followers

Friday, August 28, 2009


Amidst all the flags, the procession, the RM100 million celebration, the shouts and screams of "Merdeka, Merdeka, Merdeka", perhaps we should just look back  at what our Father of Independence, the late Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj said in his speech preceding the reading of the Merdeka Proclamation. Among others, he said, :

"I am indeed proud that on this, the greatest day in Malaya's history it falls to my lot to proclaim the formal independence of this country. Today as new page is turned, and Malaya steps forward to take her rightful place as a free and independent partner in the great community of Nations - a new nation is born and though we fully realise that difficulties and problems lie ahead, we are confident that, with the blessing of God, these difficulties will be overcome and that today's events, down the avenues of history, will be our inspiration and our guide...

But while we think of the past, we look forward in faith and hope to the future; from henceforth we are masters of our destiny, and the welfare of this beloved land is our own responsibility: Let no one think we have reached the end of the road: Independence is indeed a milestone, but it is only the threshold to high endeavour-the creation of a new and sovereign State. At this solemn moment therefore I call upon you all to dedicate yourselves to the service of the new Malaya: to work and strive with hand and brain to create a new nation, inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty - a beacon of light in a disturbed and distracted world.

High confidence has been reposed in us; let us unitedly face the challenge of the years. And so with remembrance for the past, and with confidence in the future, under the providence of God, we shall succeed."

Later, when he recited the Merdeka Proclamation, he said, among others:

"I, TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN PUTRA IBNI AL-MARHUM SULTAN ABDUL HAMID HALIMSHAH, PRIME MINISTER OF THE PERSEKUTUAN T ANAH MELAYU, with the concurrence and approval of Their Highnesses the Rulers of the Malay States do hereby proclaim and declare on behalf of the people of the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu that as from the thirty first day of August, nineteen hundred and fifty seven, the Persekutuan Tanah Melayu comprising the States of lohore, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan, Trengganu, Perak, Malacca and Penang is and with God's blessing shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations."

Perhaps we should all reflect whether these lofty ideals set out by the Tunku has been achieved, 52 years after he proclaimed it. Or whether we have ever worked towards achieving the same.

A nation founded upon the principles of liberty and justice. A nation which is ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people. A nation inspired by the ideals of justice and liberty. A nation which is to be a beacon of light in a disturbed and a distracted world.

That was the Tunku's aspirations. And the aspirations of all Malaysians on 31st of August 1957.

Have we all, as a nation, achieved those? Have we worked to achieve those? If we have, have we worked hard enough to achieve those?

Would the Tunku, had he been still alive, looked at all of us, his children and grandchildren, with a big smile on his face, thinking to himself, "I am happy with what all of you have achieved, and I will go to face my creator a happy and fulfilled man"?

Or would he, had he been still alive, grimace in pain and displeasure, at what we have all become, at what this nation of ours have become?

I am asking this because I remember the day he died. And the day his body was rested. And I remember the days before he died. I remember his columns in the Star newspaper, "As I See It" and "Looking Back". His love for this nation and his undying commitment towards democracy, social justice and fairness would see him rise on occasions, even when he was in his old age to fight what he saw as injustice, unfairness and dictatorial behaviours. 

He was  critical of Dr Mahathir, the then Prime Minister. That man of course had, in 1987, banned the Star newspaper, which was substantially owned by the Tunku.

And when UMNO (the original UMNO) was declared illegal by the High Court (at the insistance of Counsel appearing for the Mahathir faction), the Tunku, out of sheer love for UMNO and the nation, quickly teamed up with Tun Hussein Onn (another former PM) to form a party known as UMNO Malaysia. UMNO Malaysia registration was blocked by non other than Mahathir Mohammad. Mahathir later registered UMNO Baru and changed the law to allow UMNO Baru to be renamed UMNO as if nothing had ever happened in between.

I then remember him supporting Tunku Razaleigh's Semangat 46. The Tunku, despite his old age, even went out to campaign in the 1990 general election.

On 6th December 1990, the Tunku, our Father of Independence, died. He died as an opposition. He died opposing a derivative of the very party he once led and gained independence with. He died opposing what he thought and perceived as a totalitarian government bent on destroying social justice and equality.

Today, almost 52 years after he stood and proudly recited the Merdeka Proclamation, I wonder whether he is smiling at all of us in heaven. Or whether he is turning his back against us.

Knowing how much he loved this nation and how hard he fought for justice, fairness, liberty and freedom, he could be hurting.

Al fatihah to the Tunku.


Eyes Wide Open said...

Your article brought tears to my eyes. I was still an innocent teenager when Tunku was campaigning against Mahathir.

But what I remember from that time was DrM telling the Tunku "shut up old man" in not so many words.

Yes, it's time to rewind and reset our country

Anonymous said...

Tunku is dead and gone.

Now we have Najib and his partner Rosmah sharing the driver seat.

Mahathir is still around but is now just a toothless tiger.

We 27 millions Malaysians are supposed to celebrate MERDEKA.

Unfortunate, we can't. The Merdeka celebrations is only for the selected few. Rais said so in the press today. Only invited guests are invited.

Other Malaysians may just line up by the roadsides waving flags. Oterwise, stay at home and turn on the TV.

That is justice and liberty.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt Tunku is hurting up in heaven looking down at the current state of his beloved Malaya... progressively destroyed by the people he once trusted to govern with justice, fairness, liberty and freedom.

Anonymous said...

We have developed quite a bit since then.

What with all these tall towers, short visions and blatant dishonesty.

Whatever his so-called achievements I am still bitter at TDM for his discourtesy towards TAR, our Grand Old Gentleman of Malysian Politics.


CW Leong said...

Thank you sir for this article.

Reading this reminded of a story my dad once told me when he was working in Cold Storage, the first supermarket in Malaysia, at the time when Tunku was the PM. Tunku was there pushing his own trolley going through the aisle shopping for his groceries.

So far in my life, I've never seen any BN politician going through their lives as a normal citizen. I see them in grand hotels, chauffeur driven luxury cars and other VIP functions.

This year's merdeka, I'll be at home spending quality time with my family.

chapchai said...

What is there to celebrate with all the shenanigans going on at the moment?

Malaysian said...

The government is utterly corrupt. Crime rampant. A lawless Police force, IGP controlled by the underworld, deaths in police custody, MACC protects BN politicians, Chief Justice UMNO lapdog, coup d tat in Perak, snatching of dead bodies, intimidation of non Muslims/Malays - and you want me to celebrate Merdeka? What Merdeka?

tupingera said...

Merdeka from the British imperialists only to be subjugated by the umnoputera kleptocracy.

Pre-merdeka, the colonialists were plundering the nation and transferred the loot to England.Post-merdeka, the umnoputeras are plundering the nation and tranfer the loot to England.

Merdeka?? what merdeka.

LAT said...


Thanks for your simple history lesson, now the younger generation get to know the truth and have the discerning mind to differentiate between the Godly PM and the Evil PM i.e the one who come to build the nation and the other one who come to destroy !

pearlyrose said...

We have come a long way from the nation that Tunku envisioned 52 years ago along with our parents and grandparents who remember how painful it was to be under a foreign 'tuan'. They marched and they fought with determination to build this nation. Now their children and grandchildren have to fight to save it from imploding from within for the sake of future Malaysians. Regardless of the colour of our skin or the religion we practice - we are Malaysians. This is the only real home we have. Any other country, even with golden rain, can never truly be home. Yes, Merdeka..

Anonymous said...

I remembered when some reporter asked Mahathir about Tunku's critism against him, I remember the sinister one-sided smile on his face when he said.."tak apelah, dia dah tua, dah nanyuk..." What a disrespect to our father of independende!!! Back then he was the prophet in Malaysia. 'Nabi Mahathir' they call him and everybody bow to lick his toes.
Now he IS the old senile man who never SHUT-UP. When can Najib just shout to him.."SHUT UP OLD MAN??"

natives are restless said...

I had a DREAM !!!.... I had a DREAM !!!!!.....

Kris said...

Beautifully said Art, and yes it rang poignantly... Tunku would not turn his back on us but he must be in pain to see what has been done to us...

Aiman "Dafrosty" Mohd Misri said...

can i repost this on my blog?

Anonymous said...

The current problems in one way or another can be attributed to the man or the mamak man who took the nation for a free drive. He pushes through the NS Highway project using underhand tactics by sending his distractors all to Kamunting and enslaved us all to pay tolls till kingdom comes.

He is th emaster of all corrupted projects where billions disappered by the very signing of contracts to friendly parties in exchange for something else. If we were to outline it all, even the length and breath of Malaysia could not possibly contain it.

Anonymous said...

I was born one year after Merdeka. Since the days of TDM, Merdeka has lost its meaning year after year. Merdeka is nothing more than just an empty word nowadays.

art harun said...

No problem Aiman.

Gan said...

I think Tunku must be feeling sad, to see Malaysia morph into current state.

Anonymous said...

The dichotomy between politics and economy and the identification of functions with ethnicity and the mishandling of these issues are what led to the present mess. The other is corruption.

Chinese chauvinists are exploiting the situation to further weaken the Malays.

Lai Heng said...

Thanks for the insightful and moving article. Most of the youngsters today - 30 years and below - won't know all these as we were born when Toon Maha-tir was already the (corrupted) PM. We were brainwashed by the education system to love him - the so-called architect of modern Malaysia, but who is on fact the architect of the corrupted Malaysia) - and his administration and his UMNO and his MCA and his MIC.

I remember Tunku as the frail old man who tried to speak up against the wrongs of the government, efforts which were cleverly covered up by Maha-tir with help from his mouthpieces and the police, the judiciary etc.

And the day Tunku passed away, I remember crying in real grief. My friends wondered why I cried (we were just a bunch of 12-year-old kids then)!

Tunku is truly a great statesman, who truly loved the country till his last breath. Tunku, I salute you.

And on the 52nd anniversary of the day Malaya received her independence from the British, I will wear black to commemorate the robbing of my country by years of corruption (the real legacy of Mahathir) and the death of justice in this beloved country I call my home.

wan zaharizan b wan zan said...

Art Pleez do your research well! He was not a substantial holder of shares in Star, he was a shareholder a minor one. So pleez do your research well. And if you so well verse about tunku you should remember Rancangan 30 Minit a talk show produce by RTM. I remember it with glee and what tunku says was vintage tunku. He says which riled up the reporters then was 'kita orang melayu perut mesti kenyang otak tak kenyang takpa!" Like that lah! in his thick loghat kedah. I love that about him it might not be true might be true of you. Please visit the RTM archives and get a copy of the video! i have nothing against tunku but this shows he lacks the touch or understand the Malays then as oppose to the Malays in 1957.Send my regards to Dina

Anonymous said...

Our dear Tengku will be the first to admit his faults and vices. Both of which he said that he has many for after all he is human. And he did not attempt to hide them unlike the hypocrite politicians these days.

I remembered in those days when we subscribed to The Star that I would turn to his article whenever it was published. His and another great Malaysia - the late Tan Sri Dr Tan Chee Khoon.

Yes, those were the times when we were towering Malaysians. Not anymore as epitomised by our mainstream media, Government, BN, etc.

May they rest in peace