LOVE AND RESPECT THE JALUR GEMILANG

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 (Bernama) – People may easily conclude that Malaysia’s

national flag – the ''Jalur Gemilang'' – has been flying tall for the last 54

years.

On August 31 this year, Malaysians worldwide will celebrate the 54th

‘Merdeka’, the day Malaysia gained independence from British rule.

But the fact is that the Jalur Gemilang, with its 14 red and white stripes,

a yellow 14-point star and crescent on blue canton, was in existence for seven

years before Merdeka.

The colours on the flag have a specific meaning. The 14 stripes, in equal

width, represent the equal status among the federation of 13 member states and

the federal government, while the 14 points of the star represent the unity

between these entities. The crescent represents Islam, the country''s official

religion, while the blue canton symbolises the unity of the Malaysian people.

The yellow colour of the star and the crescent is the royal colour of the Malay

rulers.

The flag was selected in a flag-designing competition held on November 1949.

Six months later, on May 1950, King George VI of Britain decreed that the flag

represented the Federation of Malay States and was thereafter hoisted on 26th

May.

Several modifications were made to the flag''s original pattern and in 1997

the flag was named the Jalur Gemilang (stripes of glory) on the occasion of the

40th Independence Day.

OWNING THE FLAG

On being asked if they own a Jalur Gemilang, many Malaysians would reply

that they have at least one in their personal collection at home.

“I keep the Jalur Gemilang, in fact I have three flags," said a government

pensioner.

Yussof Ahmad, who stays in Sungai Buloh, is proud that everyday he is able

to fly three flags in front of his house -- the Jalur Gemilang, Selangor flag

(because he resides in Selangor) and that of Perak (the state of his birth).

But why the need for buying a national flag every year? This was a poser put

up by Abdul Rahman Zainuddin of Kuching, Sarawak, as he prefers to make his own

flag using a white cloth and painting the national colours on it.

”No need to buy, you can make (your own). Get a thick white cloth and paint

the colours on it," he said, noting that making your own flag makes you

appreciate it better.

Abdul Rahman remarked that the person who makes his own flag would keep it

safely after use and would feel proud every time he flies it.

HONOUR OF HAVING A JALUR GEMILANG

The price of a Jalur Gemilang, measuring 1.5m x 1.0m, is no higher than

RM15, while a smaller size (mini ones flown on cars) is priced not more than RM5

for each, depending on its quality.

If the flag is not costly, why are people reluctant of buying and keeping it

with them? According to journalist Voon Miaw Ping, it is not everyday that one

buys a national flag.

“I have one at home. Each Malaysian should keep one and it’s quite strange

if one does not have it,” said Voon.

The pride felt in keeping a Jalur Gemilang is not a trend, but should be

imprinted in the soul of every loyal citizen of the country.

Each time the National Day is round the corner and the Merdeka Month

celebration starts, all Malaysians should be ready with their own national flag.

There is no need to wait for free give-away flags; no need to question the price

of a national flag.

For 19-year-old Adila Salim, the Merdeka spirit always flames inside her

every time the Merdeka Month celebration kicks-off.

“I am for it if we can fly the Jalur Gemilang everyday all year long and not

just during the weeks before the Merdeka celebration," said Adila with pride.

Adila, who is a student at a private higher learning institution, admitted

that one may only feel patriotic in the midst of Merdeka celebration.

NATION''S SOVEREIGNTY

The national flag is a mark of a nation''s sovereignty.

For that reason, on any occasion, a national flag is usually hoisted and

flown high. The flag is hoisted as well as taken down amid full honour to mark

our respect and love for our national flag.

For Zulhail Saleh and many others who value the nation''s sovereignty, the

sight of mini national flags toppling down from car roofs (as he has

seen on may occasions) and on to the roads to be run over by vehicles, is too

hard to bear.

These mini flags would also be left or strewn about on the pavement, only to

be trampled under the feet of passersby.

"Where is our honour and pride, where is our respect and love for the Jalur

Gemilang?" he voiced rather emotionally.

Zulhail calls on all Malaysians to fly the Jalur Gemilang sincerely and

honestly during the Merdeka celebration.

"We should be proud of being a Malaysian," he said.

University student Zahirah Wahidin agrees with Zulhail''s view. “Many people

do not keep their Jalur Gemilang at the appropriate place. I was told that even

a torn Jalur Gemilang is put up at a flag post. There are some that are simply

left in bits and pieces until the National Day celebration next year.

"Patriotism must come from the heart, sincerely. It should not be based on

the number of flags flown in front of the house or that placed on top of cars,"

she said.

These days the Jalur Gemilang flags are on sale at many places, including

the petrol stations and hypermarkets.

‘FLY JALUR GEMILANG’ CAMPAIGN

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is scheduled to launch the ''Fly

Jalur Gemilang'' national-level campaign at KL Sentral on July 27.

The event is expected to motivate all parties, including the government

departments and agencies as well as the corporate sector, apart from members of

the public, to fly the national flag on buildings and vehicles.

This is to further spark the spirit achieved when the country obtained its

independence in 1957.

This year over 48 companies have given their commitment to make this

campaign a success as the country celebrates its 54th anniversary of

independence.

A total of 6,000 Jalur Gemilang flags are expected to be distributed during

the campaign, which will extend to September 30.

MERDEKA!

-- BERNAMA

HBH RON ZUL INE RON

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