Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council should revisit the PH manifesto on dissolution of Biro Tata Negara (BTN)

A news portal yesterday carried an article “I’m in favour of abolishing BTN – Kit Siang”, explaining that as “the desperado politics of fear, hate, lies, race and religion of Umno/BN in the 14th general election (GE14) was the culmination of years of indoctrination of racism, bigotry, intolerance and extremism by National Civics Bureau (Biro Tatanegara or BTN)”, the BTN has no place in New Malaysia.

Based on this article, I was quoted in today’s MCA-owned newspaper report “Decision to keep BTN slammed” of “slamming” the Pakatan Harapan government for a report that BTN was among the 26 government departments agencies that would continue to be placed under the Prime Minister’s Departmenmt in a proposal to rationalise government entities.

Yesterday, a MCA leader also issued a statement attacking the Pakatan Harapan on the ground that Putrajaya’s move to retain the BTN is agains the Pakatan Harapan manifesto.

The MCA leader is right, that retaining the BTN is in breach of Promise 28 of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto which states that the BTN will be dissolved as it had over the years become “a cheap political agent for UMNO”.

However, the MCA leaders should not shed crocodile’s tears over the breach of the PH manifesto to dissolve BTN.

Let Malaysians know whether and when MCA Ministers or MCA Deputy Ministers had ever criticised BTN for its abuses and excesses in the past 14 years from 2014-2018, and if they cannot do so, they should not try to be downright opportunsitic.

Actually, I had not issued any media statement on BTN, as the article was a media statement on BTN controversy which I issued more than a month ago on May 30, 2018.

However, in view of the report that that BTN would be retained instead of being dissolved, as promised by the Pakatan Harapan manifesto, the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council should revisit the issue.

The only reason for the retention of BTN is if there is a total changeover of its objective and operations i.e. from inciting hatred and distrust between the races and religions, undertake a total change of its syllabus and objectives to promote national unity and inter-racial and inter-religious understanding, goodwill and harmony.

In a recent interview, the Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad called on Malaysia’s young citizens to forget racial origins and think of themselves as “pure Malaysians”.

Will BTN, if is retained, abandon the doctrine of “ketuanan Melayu” and replace it with a doctrine of “ketuanan rakyat Malaysia”?

In a way, the historic and watershed results of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, marked the astounding failure of over three decades of BTN “brain-washing” to promote racism, bigotry, intolerance and extremism, involving a budget of over RM1.1 billion budget, as it is no exaggeration to say that never before in the previous general elections had the country seen such intensity and viciousness in the politics of fear, hate, lies, race and religion as in GE14.

From a bureau which should be dedicated to promote national civic consciousness in a plural society, the BTN degenerated over time into a propaganda outfit to brainwash civil servants and youngsters into mindless defenders of the Umno/BN regime – even to the extent of supporting a kleptocratic regime!

The only reason for the retention of the BTN is that there is total changeover, where the new National Civics Bureau stop the negative, divisive and anti-national role inciting racism, disunity, bigotry and intolerance of the past and instead foster patriotism, unity, inter-racial and inter-religious understanding and goodwill.

Will there be a total change-over in the objective and character of BTN?

This is why I suggest that the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council should revisit this issue.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Iskandar Puteri