An Umno state assemblyperson has likened the selling of the 'Patriot' vanity car registration number plates to prostitution.
Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid ( photo ) was commenting on the lucrative contract given to Yayasan Patriot Negara Malaysia (YPNM) to auction off the plates.
"This act of selling the plates is akin to 'prostituting' the sacred word to the highest bidder making them pimps, not patriots," said the Kempas representative in a blog posting today.
YPNM said it expected to earn between RM10 million and RM15 million through the auction, and the proceeds would be used to promote "patriotism".
Malaysiakini in a special report on Tuesday had highlighted that the YPNM committee comprised politically-linked individuals, with at least three of them having the same paternal name.
The majority of the committee members were also executives in the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), which has controversially called for a boycott of Chinese businesses that were supportive of the opposition.
Sinners and 'Saint'
Tengku Putra, whose blog is named 'The Patriot', questioned whether YPNM understood the word "patriot" and whether it conducted background checks on those bidding for the plates.
"Among those who win the bid could be known economic traitors who have sabotaged the nation to make a fast buck. Are they worthy of carrying these plates?
"Don't the organisers want to ascertain or ensure first that the bearers are true patriots?" he said.
Tengku Putra said this would be even worse if the winning bidders were not Malaysian citizens.
"If a foreigner wins the bid for "Patriot 1", symbolically, the organisers have sold our country.
"When it is open to any Tom, Dick and Harry with money, we might end up with a Dick who could have sold his mother not to mention his country with those plates flashed on his car!" he said.
He likened this to rapists and adulterers being able to join the bid for the plate "Saint" from 1 to 9999.
"If they can't determine the difference, then the government should scrap the idea altogether.
"By allowing it, this outfit has just put 'patriotism' on sale and if I heard the spokesman right, he even said that the owner might profit from it by re-selling it in the future.
"These people aren't patriots, they are mere salesmen in a patriot's outfit making money off the rakyat from turning 'patriotism' into a tradeable commodity," he said.
To date, the 'Patriot 1' plate bidding had reached RM1.3 million.