Putrajaya sticks to N-Day theme, insists it fulfilled promises
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 4 ― The Najib administration is adamant on using the “Janji Detepati” (Promises Fulfilled) theme for the coming National Day celebrations, and refusing to entertain criticisms that it contained political overtures by the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN).
In a statement carried by Bernama here, Information, Communication and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim insisted that the theme was appropriate as it was his ministry’s responsibility to interpret the nation’s successes for the past half a century.
“The government’s promises to the people [have] been fulfilled. During the anniversary of independence, this matter should be appreciated and celebrated, and the deeds of past struggles should also be remembered. Merdeka!” he was quoted as saying by the national news agency.
Rais added that the choice of the contentious slogan, read in full as “55 years of independence, Promises Fulfilled”, had been a Cabinet decision.
“The opposition and its alliance will feel the heat, going by the slogan, as they do not have a track record of achievement.
“What was played up by The Malay Mail was a political protest which was unhappy with the government’s achievements and successes, so far,” he was quoted further by Bernama.
The government’s chosen theme of “Janji Ditepati” for this year’s National Day celebrations has drawn intense criticism from the opposition and Malaysians.
Its logo and theme song have also attracted intense mockery and scrutiny, with claims that the latter was copied from an Indonesian gospel song.
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have accused the BN government of hijacking the national celebration to promote its political agenda and of abusing government resources for campaigning purposes.
In retaliation, the opposition pact of PKR, DAP and PAS announced its own alternative theme on Wednesday ― “Sebangsa, Senegara, Sejiwa” (One nation, one country, one soul) ― following suggestions from the public last Friday.
The selection was made by a committee chaired by national laureate Datuk A. Samad Said, and included members such as former minister Tan Sri Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, Datuk Dr Toh Kin Woon, women’s rights activist Ivy Josiah and ex-Suhakam commissioner Tan Sri Simon Sipaun.
PR de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said on Thursday that the federal opposition was willing to abandon its alternative theme if Putrajaya decides to use a more inclusive slogan instead of “Promises Fulfilled”.
He had also disagreed that PR’s decision to come up with its own theme would divide Malaysians, pointing out that calling for the spirit of unity should not be considered divisive.
“Those who preach sectarianism... that is clearly divisive, so I don’t think we should equate these two slogans as the same.
“How can you suggest, for example, our motto calling for one nation, one soul... as divisive?
“This is a challenge to Umno and BN leaders to reconsider their sectarian, parochial or partisan approach,” he had said.