Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Tuesday, 8th December 2009:
Why no other Cabinet Minister, whether Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC or from Sabah and Sarawak, speaking out publicly to endorse Nazri’s denunciation of Mahathir as a racist for defending racist BTN course
Why is there no other Cabinet Minister, whether Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC or from Sabah and Sarawak, speaking out publicly to endorse Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s denunciation of former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir as a racist for defending the racist Biro Tata Negara (BTN) course?
It has been said that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Are there any “tough” Ministers in Umno, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah and Sarawak to endorse a revamp of the divisive, racist and seditious BTN indoctrination course which had done the nation-building process a great national disservice since Mahathir’s premiership to divide the diverse races in the country by promoting racial hatred and illwill among Malaysians?
Mahathir had said that there is no need to revamp the BTN course “as in the current form, they were fine for instilling the patriotic spirit among Malaysians”, claiming that “the BTN curriculum had helped foster unity as the courses conducted by the agency were attended by Malaysians of all races”.
Rubbing salt into the wound, Mahathir yesterday went on to charge that criticisms against BTN as an “exaggeration”, insisting that the BTN course had taught participants “new values” needed to succeed.
“We have this thing (BTN) for 20 years during the time I was Prime Minister. Nobody complains about anything. And the people who attended these courses always found that it was very useful.”
Mahathir’s question why “nobody complains about anything” during his premiership can be easily answered – his high-handed and autocratic rule which brook no dissent especially in the public service with his propensity to abuse his powers against all who crossed his path including the abuses of draconian laws like the Internal Security Act and the Official Secrets Act.
Dare Mahathir fully support a public inquiry into the BTN course since his time concerning serious allegations that it not only failed to instill a patriotic spirit, but was divisive, racist and seditious creating greater racial polarization and national disunity in the country?
I fully agree with Nazri that it is long overdue that patriotism was not meant only for the Malays but for all Malaysians, and Nazri could not be more right when he said:
“You must be a Malaysian whether you’re a minister or not. You must walk your talk. Don’t just because when you were PM, you wanted everyone to support you, you’re Malaysian and the moment you’re no longer PM, that’s it, only talk about the Malays so I cannot accept his comment. When you read his blog it is bloody racist.
“I strongly feel the BTN courses must be in line with the 1 Malaysia slogan by the PM.”
This is why the statement by the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Ahmad Maslan yesterday that the BTN module would be “fine-tuned and not revamped” raises the question whether Nazri or Mahathir will have the final say about the BTN course and why the silence of all Ministers from UMNO, MCA, Gerakan, MIC, Sabah and Sarawak are so deafening!
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor