Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Friday, 27th November 2009:
Close down Biro Tata Negara if Najib is serious, sincere and genuine about the 1Malaysia concept
When he became Prime Minister seven months ago, Datuk Seri Najib Razak came out with the slogan of 1Malaysia.
It was an admission of the failure of 52-year nation-building to create a Malaysian citizenry forged by a common Malaysian consciousness and identity, transcending their ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic differences.
The Biro Tata Negara (BTN) is one important factor for this failure in Malaysian nation-building.
In Parliament in March this year, I read out an indignant email from a recent participant in BTN course, on how BTN operated as the propaganda arm of UMNO, pumping communal poison instead of spreading the message of national unity.
The complaints against the BTN included:
Their purpose is to convey THEIR Message to us but I think they are absolutely wrong. It made us more irritable towards BN government and make us more stronger to vote opposition.
Here are their messages:
It is most shocking that the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin could defend such communal poison in BTN courses as fostering “nationalism in line with 1Malaysia concept and instilling patriotism”, when responding to the Selangor Pakatan Rakyat government’s decision to bar its civil servants and students from state-owned institutions from the BTN’s racist “political indoctrination” and “brainwashing”.
Seven Selangor Pakatan Rakyat legislators have spoken up against the BTN courses for promoting hatred among the races, which is contrary to its original purpose as well as the Constitution.
Seri Setia Selangor State Assemblyman Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, speaking from his own experience, said they were told that PKR members were Jewish agents, that DAP was a Singapore party, while PAS was labelled a deviant movement.
Batu Caves Selangor State Assemblyman Amirudin Shari said a big part of the programme had nothing to do with nation building or education but was an Umno and BN race-based programme where participants are indoctrinated with propaganda about “Ketuanan Melayu”.
If Najib is serious, sincere and genuine about the 1Malaysia concept, the first thing he must do is to close down the BTN as it is the biggest obstacle to 1Malaysia nation-building.
The BTN is the litmus test whether Najib’s 1Malaysia slogan is just empty rhetoric or whether he is really prepared to “walk the talk” of creating a united, harmonious and progressive Malaysia.
The BTN courses have been shrouded in great secrecy. Not only are participants not allowed their mobile phones and other electronic media gadgets, lectures and course notes are also not allowed to be taken away after the indoctrination.
Is the Cabinet prepared to order a full public inquiry into running of the BTN so that Malaysians can know the truth about the BTN courses and how it deviated from its original purpose to foster nationalism to become a great obstacle to national unity by pumping communal poison and promoting racial ill-will and hatred?
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor