In this year’s Merdeka, I found myself for the first time in my life asking the question, would I die for this country?
This question then sparked a more important question: should I let my two sons die defending this country?
The second question then took hold of my mind and heart and I unreservedly answered, NO…I would not let my two sons die for the defense of this country.
In this article, I would like to speak my heart on the issue of corruption and the security of this country and the idea that not only has Malaysia lost its soul, it has also lost its ability to defend against invading forces in a war.
I do not have to be a master military tactician to know that any small country with disciplined force and a strong will can walk in and take over this country within a week.
The LCS scandal, coupled with the helicopter scandal and the Scorpene submarine scandal have left an ordinary citizen like me thinking that this country is not safe.
If this country was my house, I would have fired the security company protecting it and hired a new one to do the job. But miraculously, there are millions of ‘educated’ citizens who will still elect the same politicians involved in these scandals simply for the sake of racial and religious dominance as a ‘political security’ at the expense of a military one.
When I read the scandals involving our security forces, I made the decision that my two sons should not be called to arms by the country’s ‘kerahan tenaga’ policy because how can I trust their lives to civil servants, military generals and politicians who played havoc in corruption of ships, helicopters, submarines and God knows what else?
I found myself wondering whether our children in the navy are safe in their submarines and ships? Do they have enough breathable air and can the submarines actually fire the torpedoes or could the fighter jets fire their rockets and missiles?
Is the maintenance of these machines of war done in the appropriate manner or subcontracted to dubious companies linked to a race-based and religion-based political party that was always shouting Maruah Bangsa dan Maruah Agama?
We as Malaysians have heard so much about corruption and financial scandals and have also seen how one Bossku is still popular and have millions of Twitter followers as well as the policemen who kisses the hands that will eventually kill their own sons in the military.
We have seen the silence of religious clerics like muftis, ustazs and Islamic professors silent on the issues of corruption as well as the compromising situation of the security of this nation.
We have seen also the silence from the Council of Professors and Vice Chancellors of public universities sitting quietly on the side waiting to see who will win the election and who will finance their unholy institution and offices.
No, I will not sacrifice my sons for this country. When Malaysians were robbed of their fundamental rights during the false Emergency to keep Muhyiddin and PN in power, I never thought about the issue of sacrificing the lives of my sons.
When the 1MDB scandal rocked the country, still I thought… tak apa lah… it’s just money.
When religious fanatics became ministers and started to dictate how we were to believe in our faiths, I still thought to myself, well we can still live with this kind of stupidity.
But when the country’s military arsenal became part of the Barisan Nasional Corruption Package, that was too much to bear.
When the country’s military arsenal becomes part of the BN Corruption Package, that’s too much to bear!
The line has been crossed and I made up my mind and called my wife to discuss with her of my decision.
My wife, initially disagreed with my decision to send our two sons to make a life for themselves outside this country. She has the idea that our two sons would take care of us in our old age.
I told her that we should rely on some expert care services with the pension money we have and it would not be fair to our two sons to expect them to care for us.
They have their lives and we should honor and respect that.
When my wife fell silent, a sign that she would agree to disagree, I called up my two sons and sat them down. I went through my lengthy explanation of the dire politics of the country related to its security.
They are used to my lectures on the Islamic conservatism that is sweeping the nation and my warnings about their non-traditional lifestyles. But for the first time, I sounded my worries about them being drafted in times of war even though war seems not forthcoming but one never knows.
In war, the enemy strikes when they see the weakness and chaos in a country, especially one that has a group of politicians corrupting the military system making it ripe for a simple invading force.
When I had my final words, my two sons finally spoke. The younger one said that he did not want to leave his friends from various races as they are as close like a family that he has.
The older boy who does not have that many friends or girlfriends said that he wanted to take care of his mother and I and felt strongly that this was his duty as his three sisters have married and have their own responsibilities.
Both of my sons rejected my offer to set them up in another country. I tried to convince them one last time and said they would be gone for only ten years to make their money and come back home to the lands and houses that would be their legacy, and that my wife and I would probably still be here in our seventies for them to care for us.
My sons still refused to leave their birth place.
I was both proud and sad for my sons. If I were them, I would have taken up the offer and leave this country. There is no future for them here. There is not only no security from invading enemies but more importantly, the country has no maruah.
A country where political leaders compromised the security of the nation for petty gains is not as bad as a country with a citizenry who will vote for race and religion at the expense of the fundamental safety of all life in Malaysia.
That is certainly my definition of a Merdeka without maruah.
(Prof Dr. Mohd Tajuddin Mohd Rasdi is Professor of Architecture at a local university and his writing reflects his own personal opinion entirely.)