The Najib government must demonstrate that it is capable of being sensitive about Malaysia as a multi-racial and multi-religious nation before it talks about widening the scope of BTN for youths and citizenry to become the “eyes and ears” of the state on security threats
The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Azalina Othman said last night that the National Civics Bureau (BTN) needs to be revamped given the diverse nature of security threats and that the government needs its citizens to be better “eyes and ears” for the state and for young people to be more aware of such threats.
She said that the government wants the rakyat to be more aware of national security threats, especially youths who seem to be less sensitive of this.
The Najib government must demonstrate that it is capable of being sensitive about Malaysia as a multi-racial and multi-religious nation before it talks about widening the scope of BTN for the youths and citizenry to be “eyes and ears” of the state on security threats.
If the Najib government had been sensitive about Malaysia as a multi-racial and multi-religious nation, it would not have abandoned the 1Malaysia Policy to create a Malaysia where every Malaysian regards himself or herself as a Malaysian first and race, religion, region or socio-economic position second.
Nor would have the seven-year tragedy of Indira Gandhi happened, where a mother is forcibly separated from her 11-month old baby daughter for seven long years with no end in sight because the Cabinet has no political will to resolve the controversy over unilateral conversion of minors.
Nor would have the Cabinet allowed the controversy over the proposed suspension of Public Service Department (JPA) Scholarships for degree courses and the Education Ministry's bursary for pre-university programmes because of falling government revenues to roil on for over five days without a clear-cut clarification from JPA, causing heart-burns all-round.
Nor would the “adviser” of the Prime Minister disseminate lies to aggravate racial and religious polarisation in the country, like the falsehood that Christian missionaries target the uneducated in Malaysia and offer money and aid to secure their conversion or the downright lie accusing the DAP of supporting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as trade in the country is purportedly controlled by the Chinese community.
Instead of giving serious consideration to the dissolution of BTN, which in the past three decades had cost Malaysian taxpayers some RM1.2 billion in expenditure and the bane of Malaysian nation-building for its divisive and destructive role in fanning racism, disunity, bigotry intolerance and extremism in Malaysia, the government seems set on widening the scope and coverage of BTN to include youths and the general citizenry under the pretext of recruiting them as the “eyes and ears for the state” to face new security threats.
There is a strong case for the dissolution of BTN in the recalibration of the 2016 Budget by the Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minster on Thursday.
Azalina's argument for widening the scope and coverage of BTN is not convincing enough.
I maintain that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak should abolish BTN in the 2016 Budget calibration on Thursday while initiating a study whether BTN can be redeemed and totally revamped to promote national unity instead of fostering racism, disunity, bigotry, intolerance and extremism in the last three decades.
The newly-appointed BTN director-general Ibrahim Saad had said that BTN aims to dispel perceptions it is racist and see its module updated to suit current needs.
The problem with BTN is not about rebranding or that it suffered from “perceptions” that it is racist, but that the BTN is guilty as charged – that it is racist, inciting disunity, bigotry and intolerance instead of fostering patriotism, unity, inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and goodwill.
This is why former top Malay civil servants in G25 have condemned BTN of being “ultra Malay-racist”.
On behalf of G25, former diplomat and spokesperson of G25 Datuk Farida Ariffin have joined the growing chorus demanding that the Najib government should dissolve the “anti-national” BTN.
Are there no Ministers who are prepared to speak up to demand the dissolution of BTN because of its long-standing role in the past decades in causing national division and disunity?