KUALA LUMPUR, Dis 8 — Menteri di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz berkata beliau tidak bersetuju dengan pandangan bekas Perdana Menteri Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad bahawa kursus Biro Tata Negara (BTN) tidak perlu dirombak.
“Saya tahu Dr M (Mahathir) mengulas mengenai patriotisme dan sebagainya, ya saya setuju mengenai patriotisme … ia untuk semua semua.
“Namun terdapat mereka yang menghadiri kursus (BTN) yang kemudianya keluar dengan perasaan marah. Terdapat banyak contoh … jadi saya ingin tahu di mana silap saya dalam menyokong rombakan silibus BTN,” katanya di sini semalam.
Malah Nazri juga menyifatkan Dr Mahathir sebagai “rasis betul” kerana mempertahankan kursus-kursus BTN sambil mengulangi keputusan Kabinet sebelum ini bahawa program-program itu akan dirombak.
“Dia rasis betul. Anda seharusnya bertindak sebagai seorang rakyat Malaysia sama ada menteri ataupun sebaliknya.
“Anda mesti buat apa yang anda perkatakan. Jangan kerana bila anda menjadi Perdana Menteri, anda mahu setiap orang menyokong anda, anda bertindak seperti seorang rakyat Malaysia. Sebaik sahaja bukan lagi jadi Perdana Menteri, anda hanya bercakap pasal orang Melayu, saya tidak boleh menerima komen beliau,” katanya.
Oleh itu kata Nazri beliau “sangat percaya bahawa kursus-kursus BTN mesti selari dengan slogan 1 Malaysia yang digerakkan oleh Perdana Menteri Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Kelmarin Dr Mahathir berkata modul latihan BTN yang sedia ada tidak perlu dirombak kerana ia sesuai untuk menyemai semangat patriotisme di kalangan rakyat Malaysia.
Isu kursus anjuran BTN mendapat perhatian ramai apabila kerajaan Negeri Selangor baru-baru ini melarang kakitangan awam dan penuntut institusi pengajian tinggi milik negeri mengikuti kursus berkenaan berkuatkuasa serta-merta kerana didakwa sebagai proses doktrinisasi oleh Barisan Nasional hingga mencetuskan fenomena perkauman, memecahbelahkan penduduk pelbagai kaum, agama dan menimbulkan kebencian kepada pembangkang.
Pada Rabu lalu, kerajaan Pulau Pinang, yang juga di bawah kepimpinan Pakatan, mengikut langkah kerajaan Selangor dan tidak membenarkan semua penjawat awamnya menghadiri kursus BTN berkuatkuasa serta merta.
Mohamed Nazri turut menafikan bahawa rombakan silibus BTN merupakan idea beliau.
“Ia merupakan keputusan Kabinet. Seperti yang anda ketahui, peruntukan BTN disebut dalam bajet (di bawah) Jabatan Perdana Menteri … jadi ia merupakan wang awam.
“Sekiranya ia wang awam, maka kita perlu pastikan ia dibelanjakan secara berhemah,” katanya.
Dalam pada itu Dr Mahathir berkata kritikan mengenai modul kursus BTN, termasuk yang
mendakwa ia berunsur perkauman adalah sesuatu yang diperbesar-besarkan.
Beliau berkata kursus itu hanya mengajar penjawat awam supaya mempunyai nilai dan budaya yang baru, seperti lebih berdisiplin, jujur dan tidak melakukan rasuah, dalam usaha memberi khidmat yang lebih baik kepada negara.
“Kita telah mempunyai perkara ini selama 20 tahun. Ketika saya menjadi perdana menteri, tiada siapa yang mengadu apa-apa dan mereka yang menghadiri kursus ini juga mendapati ia sangat berguna.
“Apa yang kita cuba ajar mereka ialah mereka mesti mempunyai nilai-nilai yang baru, kerana sistem nilai dan budaya yang mereka ada tidak kondusif untuk kejayaan. Saya tidak nampak apa yang salah mengenainya,” kata beliau dipetik Bernama ketika ditemui wartawan di Cyberjaya.
Nazri says Dr M’s remarks ‘most stupid’
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, lashed out at Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today and described the former premier’s remarks as the “most stupid statement” that he has ever heard.
Dr Mahathir had said earlier today that Nazri should resign from Umno because if he were against racism, he should not be in a racist party.
“He (Nazri) said I am racist? Don’t ever say he is not, because he knows everything very well. He belongs to a party and that is a racist party, which is Umno. Umno is a party ‘perkauman’ and it’s meant only for Malays and nobody [else] can join in. So he is in a racist party but said he is against racism. So he should resign from the party,” Dr Mahathir had told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre today.
In response, Nazri pointed out that Dr Mahathir’s comments only confirmed what he said about him was right.
“You know that the bigger concept is the Barisan Nasional. This party (Umno) was formed and it was not decided by me. I joined because I want to serve the government. I want to serve the people and that was the platform prepared for me so actually when you want to talk about forming the party, he was involved in forming the party.
“That is not my problem, that is his problem and I only joined the system as it is. I only want to serve the people and the only way I can serve is through this party.
“I am right in the sense that if Umno is a racist party, he was a president of a racist party so he is [therefore] a racist,” he said.
Nazri added that Dr Mahathir’s arguments did not make him less racist.
Nazri had called Mahathir a “bloody racist” yesterday for defending the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses, and reasserted the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme.
He explained that patriotism was not meant only for the Malays but for all Malaysians.
Nazri also slammed Umno’s Utusan Malaysia newspaper, saying its “denial syndrome is making me laugh.” The minister in the prime minister’s department repeated his stand that “everybody knows what the BTN is,” so there was nothing to hide.
Nazri’s attack on Dr Mahathir was however, not published in Umno-owned newspapers today.
“It does not matter to me, I don’t know what are the reasons but to me if Tun Mahathir can make criticisms against the government then he is not immune to criticisms from members of government,” he said.
Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani/malaysianInsider
Dr M challenges Nazri to quit ‘racist’ Umno
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today hit back at Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for calling him a racist and urged the minister to instead quit Umno because it was indeed a racist party.
The former premier and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department have been at loggerheads over the need to revamp the National Civics Bureau (BTN), which critics charge with cultivating racism instead of its original purpose of nation building.
Yesterday Nazri called Dr Mahathir a “bloody racist” for defending BTN courses while reasserting the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme in line with the policy of 1 Malaysia mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Nazri says I am a racist, he cannot deny he is not because he knows everything very well,” said Dr Mahathir.
“He belongs to a party that is racist because Umno is meant only for Malays, no one else can join. But he is against racism, so he should resign from the party.”
Nazri yesterday said Dr Mathathir’s postings in his blog were also racist and contrary to his own stand when he was the prime minister.
“When he was prime minister he wanted everyone to support him but now he only talks about the Malays, so I cannot accept his comments,” Nazri had said yesterday.
Dr Mahathir had defended BTN’s training modules and described them as suitable for instilling patriotism in Malaysians.
BTN came under public scrutiny recently, after Pakatan Rakyat-ruled Selangor prohibited state civil servants and students of higher educational institutions owned by the state from attending its courses, claiming that they were an indoctrination process by the Barisan Nasional government and aimed at brainwashing Malaysians into hate opposition parties.
PR leaders and former participants have also claimed that the courses were racist and emphasised the idea of Malay superiority.
Neville Spykerman/malaysian Insider
Dr M transformed BTN to a super-racist agency, says former director
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Former National Civics Bureau (BTN) director now turn PKR leader Datuk Johari Abdul (picture) claimed that it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who made the body a full-fledged racist indoctrination agency, contradicting the former premier who has gone all-out to defend BTN and deny that the body was used by Umno to sow racial hatred.
Speaking at a forum organised by PKR tonight, Johari claimed that prior to Dr Mahathir’s ascendancy as the prime minister, the body, not yet called the BTN, was initially used to counter the influence of anti-establishment Islamic movements in universities in the 1970s.
At the time, the body was headed by another former prime minister, Dr Mahathir’s arch-rival, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He was not yet a politician at the time but a government officer.
“And when Abdullah became a full time politician, the body officially became BTN and its purpose was to raise the confidence of Malay students who were doing badly academically by instilling ideas like ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy),” said Johari who is also MP for Sungai Petani.
But when Dr Mahathir became prime minister, Johari said the former premier, whom he described as a “shrewd politician”, made full use of the BTN and turned it into a complete Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) indoctrination machinery to maintain Malay loyalty to the status quo.
“One of the courses (under him) was that the Malay participants were taught to defend the Umno-BN government at all cost. If the Umno-BN government falls, than the Malays are made to think that the Malays would be enslaved in their own country.”
“And then it got worse when (PKR de facto leader) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked by Dr Mahathir after a fall-out in 1998 and the BTN was then used to demonise all opposition leaders,” he added.
The PKR leader claimed he was speaking from personal experience as a former director of the agency.
And being a former director and also an Umno man, Johari admitted that he too at one point believed in the teachings of the BTN, and its supposed objective to help the Malays but has since “repented.”
“You know within your conscience that there is something wrong somewhere..it is wrong,” he said.
Johari said however that to be fair there was nothing wrong with the agency itself but that it was the syllabus that needed a revamp. He also said that Umno, as a political entity, has the right to do its best to edge out its political rivals.
“But don’t use taxpayers money for that. Finance your own programme,” he said.
The government had allocated RM64 million under the 2010 Federal Budget for BTN and the opposition is currently doing its best in Parliament to get BTN closed.
So far, some influential Umno leaders like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, and Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, have joined in the rising chorus against the agency.
Nazri had also blasted Dr Mahathir as a racist for defending BTN while Razaleigh claimed he too was a victim of the programme when he went against the former premier in the late 1980s.
But the hawks in Umno, through its newspapers like Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, have come out to defend BTN and blast its critics as attempting to politicise the issue.
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid/MalaysianInsider
Ku li: ‘I was battered by BTN’
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 – One of Umno’s most respected leaders,Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, has come out to back the closure of the Biro Tata Negara (BTN), saying he was a victim of its controversial courses when he led an opposition front.
“Yes I have heard, I have been battered about in seminars, discussions in BTN,” the Gua Musang MP said when asked if he had been a victim of BTN.
“They said a lot of things,” he replied when asked to elaborate on the nature of the attacks against him.
The Kelantanese prince was also a victim of a hate campaign during Election 1990, when a photograph of him wearing an East Malaysian headgear was widely distributed just days before polls.
The photograph of Razaleigh in the headgear, which bore a motif similar to a crucifix, is credited with turning away significant numbers of Muslim votes from Semangat 46, which he led.
The BTN, under the Prime Minister’s Department, runs compulsory courses for civil servants and undergraduates and has been accused of promoting hatred and racism by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders.
“I think BTN should close down. It has been used to promote personality cults and also used for badgering people who oppose the leadership,” he told reporters after delivering his speech at the United Nations Human Rights Day here.
“It’s a waste of money,” said the Gua Musang Umno chief.
The PR-led Selangor government recently imposed a ban on its civil servants and students within its state-run educational institutions from attending BTN courses, while Penang — another PR- governed state — is said to be considering similar action.
But the hawks in Umno, through Malay-based dailies like Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, have moved to defend BTN and attacked its critics as “traitors” who are trying to politicise the issue.
On Sunday Utusan urged the government not to “bow down” to the opposition on BTN.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz had said that BTN training modules would be revamped to better reflect the 1 Malaysia concept introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
However former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been defending the BTN courses and saying that the criticism against it has been exaggerated.