PUTRAJAYA, Sept 1 — The Jalur Gemilang is a symbol of pride, unity and integrity for all Malaysians.
These are the values that the members of Malaysia’s Information Department (JaPen) Kembara Merdeka Jalur Gemilang 2019 (KMJG19) convoy have been trying to instill in every Malaysian as they traversed some 6,200 kilometres around Malaysia.
The KMJG19 convoy was made up of 20 cars and 45 motorbikes and travelled around Malaysia, across 15 states, with two separate teams for the Peninsular and East Malaysia, with the aim of boosting the spirit of patriotism amongst all Malaysians.
The convoy was flagged off in Melaka on August 3, by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
They then began their journey across Malaysia, making their first of 62 pit stops (50 in Peninsular, 12 in East Malaysia) in Johor, before heading north through Pahang.
The KMJG19 convoy consisted of 14 cars from JaPen, two cars and 15 bikes from Royal Malaysia Police, one car each from the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia, Civil Defence Force, Road Transport Department and Finance Ministry and, 30 motorbikes from the Johor 17 Motorcycle Club (J17).
“The objective of KMJG19 programme was mainly to create passion and the spirit of patriotism amongst Malaysians all over the country, by getting them to wave the Jalur Gemilang,” said JaPen’s deputy director-general, Datuk Mohd Sukari Abd Hamid during an interview with Malay Mail.
“Waving the flag with pride is the easiest way to express our love for our country, everyone can do it, no matter where you are. That’s the message we are trying to deliver.”
This year’s “[email protected]” programme saw 459 people from government bodies and organisations take part.
He added that it was their responsibility to the nation to spread and promote Dr Mahathir’s goal of having a clean and incorruptible Malaysia.
The plan was to travel around Malaysia passing out national flags and to carry the messages of anti-corruption and nationalism, as the convoy made its way through districts and villages surrounding the country.
“It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. The weather would reach up to 38 degrees celsius, and the rain posed a problem too, but we wouldn’t let that stop us from achieving our goals,” said Mohd Sukari.
He added that those who lived in the outskirts of their respective states rarely got the opportunity to witness or be a part of Merdeka celebrations, as most of the parades were conducted in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur and the capitals of each state.
“We wanted everyone to experience what it was like to celebrate our national month, as well as promoting and educating them on this year’s theme, Sayangi Malaysiaku: Malaysia Bersih, and we were very happy that everyone openly accepted us,” he said.
“They were so excited that some people even stopped the convoy to get flags from us, because previously they could only watch the parades on TV, but now they get to be a part of it too.”
During each pit stop, members of the KMJG19 convoy and “[email protected]” programme gave Malaysian flags to community members.
They also helped to fix the flags on their cars, homes and shops, apart from giving out brochures and flyers on national integrity, which encourages all Malaysians to refrain from being involved in corrupt practices.
The programme also had other patriotic-inspired activities like poetry recitals, Jalur Gemilang drawing and colouring, and playing traditional Malaysian games.
KMJG19’s Peninsular route ended on August 31 in Putrajaya, while the East Malaysia route ends in Kuching on Malaysia Day, September 16.
It was no doubt a long and arduous journey, but for a member of J17 Hanuar Misron, 46, it was worth the effort despite being away from his wife and kids for a month — especially since they voluntarily funded their trip themselves.
“We (J17) are so proud to be a part of this convoy. It’s a healthy activity that we can all do together to boost the spirits of Malaysians all over the country, and wave the Jalur Gemilang with pride,” he said.
He added that the club’s goal was to help spread the messages of integrity and anti-corruption to everyone in the country because it was their right to know about it and to have these messages delivered to them.