Below is the link to my letter as published by The Star in their 'Letters' section today. However, I do not like the title. The following sentences were conveniently left out or amended.
1. Not all Malay Malaysians want to serve in the armed forces too so, is lack of patriotism also the reason for this?
2. I wish to suggest that the Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi clarifies his stand and issue a public apology as soon as possible and let the matter die down quickly so that we all can move on and fully embrace the 1Malaysia spirit.
So, I wrote them a reply this morning as follows:
Thank you for publishing my letter. However, I think the headline is way off the essence of the letter. My letter addressed the alleged lack of patriotism as made by the defence minister and certainly not about the lack of patriotism of non-Malays who served or are serving in the armed forces and that was why I suggested, 'Ministers must not make sensitive statements' as the title, but understandably, as a mainstream newspaper, such a title may not look good on you.
Hussaini Abdul Karim
Below is the full letter I sent to the newspapers:
I understand the surprise, fear, disappointments and even anger expressed by many non-Malay ministers in Parliament and the people on the street in response to the statement made by Defence Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi when he was reported to have said in Parliament on Tuesday that lack of patriotism was a reason for the low number of non-Malay recruits in the Armed Forces when he announced that Chinese and Indians each made up less than one per cent of new recruits in the Armed Forces for the 2008/2009 session.
Not all Malay Malaysians want to serve in the armed forces too so, is lack of patriotism also the reason for this?
I served as an officer in one of the many multi-racial units of the Malaysian Army where the soldiers included many Chinese, Indians, Ibans, Kadazans, orang asli, etc. and some of them were officers like me too. Never once throughout my many years in military service the question of patriotism or loyalty to the country was raised especially when it concerns the non-Malays - Chinese, Indians and others. We all served with dignity, discipline, integrity, patriotism, loyalty and a high sense of duty and we shared all the benefits and bore all the sufferings together all the same, nothing more nothing less. We were all brothers and lived like a closely knit family and all of us demonstrated a very high sense of espirit-de-corp throughout our service.