Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 1st December 2009:
Why not invite me to head an investigation whether BTN’s course had poisoned the minds of a generation of leaders, civil servants and university students with its racist indoctrination programme?
In continuing to justify the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) course as inculcating nationalism and unity among the people, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin challenged me to join the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) course to see for myself if it promoted racial hatred as alleged.
Undoubtedly, in such a case, the BTN lecturers will act as model Malaysians with exemplary conduct and attitude.
Let me ask Muhyiddin – why not invite me to head an investigation whether the BTN course had poisoned the minds of a generation of leaders, civil servants and university students with its divisive, racist and seditious indoctrination programmes?
No one will have any objection to national civics courses which promotes national unity and inter-racial understanding but it is unpatriotic, anti-national and criminal to say the least to have a government programme which incites racial ill-will and hatred as this is not nation-building but destroying the very fabric of a united, progressive and successful Malaysian nation.
If Muhyiddin and the top Cabinet Ministers have nothing to hide, they should welcome an opportunity to get to the bottom as to whether the BTN course had been guilty of being racist indoctrination programmes and the harm it has done to the entire nation-building process?
Muhyiddin’s continued defence of the BTN course despite irrefutable accounts by those who had attended BTN programmes raises the question whether the BTN revamp, which the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz, announced yesterday would amount to anything significiant, especially as other top Umno Ministers have continued to defend the BTN.
Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein just said over the weekend in Kuala Terengganu that he is perplexed as to why the BTN issue is only being raised now when the courses have existed for some time now, even claiming: “Probably, the opposition leaders have ran out of issues or are attempting to conceal their internal crisis by diverting attention”.
Hishammuddin is only showing his denial complex, as the issue of the divisive, racist and seditious BTN indoctrination courses had been raised, again and again, both in Parliament and outside. All he needs to do is to check the Parliament Hansard and the press.
In September last year, after I had read out in Parliament the letter of an outraged parent at the trauma his daughter underwent in one such BTN indoctrination course compulsory for JPA scholars, there was a firestorm of complaints and protests about the rank racism of the BTN courses.
One poster referred to a BTN indoctrination course for university students at UiTM in Shah Alam on 6th July 2008, where one BTN speaker, under the pretext of giving a talk on “Pendidikan”, launched into a racist harangue, criticising the then just-held Bar Council forum on social contract, accusing one of the forum speakers Farish A. Noor as a traitor of the Malay race and making disparaging remarks against Karpal Singh.
Among the “atrocious” things this speaker said were:
An investigation as to whether the BTN courses had been undermining nation building and national unity by inciting racial hatred poisoning the minds of a whole generation of leaders, civil servants and university students will be able to verify whether these serious allegations at the various BTN courses conducted all over the country in the past years are true.
Is Muhyiddin and all Cabinet Ministers prepared to support a full investigation to establish whether the truth or otherwise of the serious allegations against the BTN courses?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor