Young people are often labelled as having a weak national identity and lacking in patriotism.
Based on the Malaysian Youth Index 2022, an index developed to monitor the development of youth prosperity in the country, published by the Institute for Youth Research Malaysia, the level of youth participation in political, nationhood and democratic activities is very low with a score of 34.66.
However, National Unity Council member Prof Datuk Dr Sivamurugan Pandian regarded it as inappropriate for young people to continue to be generalised with such a connotation based on the negative behaviour of a few of them.
"It is true there are some who openly show on social media that they are not proud to be Malaysians, with some even disparaging the national anthem and hoisting the Jalur Gemilang upside down.
"There just a few of them. Do not generalise young people by saying that all of them are the same or that they do not have the (patriotic) spirit like the young people in the previous generation,” he told Bernama.
Convinced that the present young generation is as patriotic as those of the previous generation, Sivamurugan said the difference is in the way they expressed their love for the country.
"In every era, there are bound to be different ways how the people show their love for the country. The post-Independent generation has its way of expressing the patriotic spirit," said the Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) lecturer.
Seeing the importance of filling the content for National Day to the “style” of today's young generation, the Terengganu Youth Council (MBNT) has drawn up several programmes to get their optimum participation.
Its president, Anas Hazizul Muhamad said the programmes included a motorcycle convoy, which will also involve participants meeting with independence heroes and veterans in Terengganu.
"The youth association involving 20 affiliates in each district will also organise programmes aimed at sowing love for the country among the young people, such as busking and sports activities, “ he said.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Hafizuddin Yusof, 23, who is active in marathon sports, said he had participated several times in the 31.8 kilometre-run held on every Aug 31 as a symbol of his love for the country.
"I may not be the pre-Independence generation when the people were fighting to seek the country’s Independence from the colonials, but that doesn't mean I don't love Malaysia.
“By participating in the run while waving the national, it made me feel proud to be a Malaysian and I like how some people show their love for the country by wearing specially-made costumes using the Jalur Gemilang on National Day, although the use of the national flag to make costumes is not allowed," said Muhammad Hafizuddin, who is a private sector employee.
Based on the 2020 Malaysian Information Department (JaPen) e-book, the use of the Jalur Gemilang as an article of clothing is not allowed as it is regarded as disrespectful
This year, the National Day celebration with the theme ‘Tekad Perpaduan Penuhi Harapan’ will be held in Putrajaya.
Source: BERNAMA News Agency