Singapore – Minister for Law and Home Affairs, K Shanmugam took a literary approach to Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad’s choice of political party name and asked a rhetorical question regarding the meaning behind it.
On Wednesday (August 12), Dr Mahathir introduced the name of his new political party on Facebook, using a poem as reference. Mr Shanmugam, on the same day, highlighted in his personal account that he found two lines of the poem to be “interesting.”
Although he disclosed the formation of his new party last week, Dr Mahathir revealed the name, “Pejuang” through his recent post. The name translates to “Fighter” or “Warrior.” He attached a poem which had a theme of “standing in unity to fight the corruption that’s destroying the country.” Dr Mahathir also urged the public to choose their party, a warrior, if they wanted to redeem their dignity and retain their rights. “If you want positions and money, choose other parties. If you want to redeem your dignity and defend our rights, choose our party. Choose Pejuang,” said Dr Mahathir.
PARTI BAHARU – PEJUANGKita tubuh parti untuk selamatkan kita. Parti kita dihijack untuk selamatkan musuh kita….
However, two particular lines in the poem caught the attention of Mr Shanmugam:
“Lihat Melayu negara jiran.
Melayu lagikah negara mereka?”
He provided the meaning:
“Look at the Malays of the neighbouring country.
Is their country still Malay?”
“Wonder which country Dr Mahathir is referring to,” asked Mr Shanmugam.
Dr Mahathir nor Mr Shanmugam didn’t conclude it was Singapore being mentioned in the poem, although, leaving a social media post of such nature entails public response. With over 3,300 reactions and 618 comments, members from the online community didn’t skip a beat in finishing the statement.
Many provided a quick history lesson while others advised Dr Mahathir to “live and let live for mutual prosperity.
Netizens also highlighted the racially diverse and inclusive environment of Singapore. “So what if our country is not Malay? We enjoy our peace, regardless of race, language or religion,” said Facebook user Jamie E. Long. Another noted it wasn’t about being Malay or from another race because “we’re Singaporeans as one.” Facebook user Ong See Suan added that “Singapore is not perfect, but at least we learn to live together.”