Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Thursday, 4th September 2008: 

Any Najib apology for the rank racism of BTN indoctrination courses?

It is not just Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Datuk Ahmad Ismail who is guilty of rank racism with his derogatory, offensive, insensitive and chauvinistic reference to Malaysian Chinese as “pendatang”, “penumpang” and untrustworthy Malaysians, the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) also purveys such extremism and un-Malaysian prejudices and communal poison.

Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Umno President Datuk Seri Najib Razak has apologised on behalf of Ahmad Ismail to non-Malays “if it caused unhappiness”.

Is Najib next to apologise for the rank racism of BTN in purveying similar communal poison in its indoctrination courses?

I have received the following letter from an outraged parent at the trauma his daughter underwent in one such BTN indoctrination course for JPA scholars.

The BTN’s racist indoctrination course is a great disservice to both Malay and non-Malay JPA scholars as well as to Malaysian nation-building, the Merdeka social contract, the Malaysia Agreement, Rukunegara, Vision 2020 and Bangsa Malaysia.

It is time that the BTN’s racist indoctrination courses be exposed and all true Malaysians, both Malay and non-Malay, are invited to expose such extremist excesses and communal poison in BTN indoctrination courses as a prelude for its total revamp if not abolition!

The email from an outraged parent follows:

BTN’s racist and divisive indoctrination courses

Now that Najib has apologised to non-Malays for Ahmad’s statement, I would like to bring to the attention of Najib the pain endured by the young non-Malay JPA scholars who are required to go through a five-day Biro Tatanegara programme at certain camps in the country. To be fair, many moderate Malay students too cried and were hurt by some racist comments made by the instructors.

As part of the course, which is mandatory before they are sent overseas, all non-Malays are segrgated and given lectures on the history of the country and how the immigration of the Chinese and Indians had taken place. And finally how the Chinese and Indians were given citizenship. The Malays too had their own similar sessions.

The instructors blatantly told them that they should not question the rights and privileges of the Malays as the non-Malays should be thankful that they were given citizenship status and a place to stay on their soil. My daughter together with the other non-Malay students was shocked and went back to their dormitories depressed. And to the Malay students, the instructors told them to be aware of this fact and not to mix too freely with the non-Malays.

A Malay friend of my daughter came back crying to the dormitory saying that she could not take the racist position taken by the government authority. My daughter then began questioning the bumiputra policy and was disgusted with such blatant indoctrination. This incident has also made the students harbour anger and resentment. Their fear for the authorities and losing their scholarships made them keep their cool. I am not exaggerating here - ask all the JPA students to write in anonymously and you will know the truth.

These are young minds being polluted with racism. Tens of thousands of students have gone through this programme and more will be attending it in the future. So can you blame them when they exhibit their racist tendencies when in authority? How could the JPA allow such a syllabus for the cream of the nation, who will one day be entrusted to implement government policies fairly?

So, will Najib take responsibility for the racist syllabus and subsequently the racist remarks and apologise to the tens of thousands of students and parents who were hurt by such hurtful remarks? Of course knowing the BN government, it will deny this. Believe me, this is the ABSOLUTE truth.

My call to Najib is to immediately probe into this claim with the help of a multi-racial team of officers from Suhakam BUT please maintain the anonymity of the young children who have everything to lose. This blatant racism practised and preached by the Barisan Nasional government must stop immediately.

Is there any Barisan Nasional leader, whether UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, SUPP or any of the Sabah and Sarawak component parties, who will endorse the call for the disbanding of the BTN for rank racism and working against the cause of Malaysian nation-building?

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor