Dec 9, 2009

Nazri calls Tun Mahathir a racist for defending BTN

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has described Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a racist for saying that there was no need to revamp the current National Civics Bureau (BTN) training modules.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has called Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a “bloody racist” for defending the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses, and reasserted the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme.

Nazri pointed out to reporters in Parliament today that patriotism was not meant only for the Malays but for all Malaysians.

“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,” he said.

Dr Mahathir had said yesterday that there was no need to revamp BTN’s training modules in the current form and that it was suitable for instilling the patriotic spirit among Malaysians.

Nazri also slammed Umno’s Utusan Malaysia newspaper today, saying its “denial syndrome is making me laugh.” The minister in the prime minister’s department repeated his stand that “everybody knows what the BTN is,” so there was nothing to hide.

“I just want them to know, they should not go on a denial syndrome because their syllabus is known to everybody. Don’t think that people outside do not know about the syllabus based on patriotism for Malays. I just want to remind them that among those in the opposition, Hasan Ali was a former deputy director of BTN and Sungai Petani MP Johari Abdul was a BTN former director and Anwar Ibrahim’s father in law was involved with the BTN.

“They all know what the syllabus is all about so who are we to say that it did not happen? You want to lie? You make people laugh. I mean there are people who attended the courses who came out very angry. There were many instances of the use of words like Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy). It is ridiculous so I want them to tell me where did I go wrong in supporting the revamping of the BTN syllabus. Tell me where I went wrong?” he asked.

Nazri stressed that BTN was funded by public money and that the funds should be spent properly for the betterment of all communities.

“The BTN’s allocation is mentioned in the PM’s department’s budget. So it’s public money. So if it’s public money then we need to ensure that it is spent properly, not to have courses only to concentrate on one community in the country.

“You talk about patriotism, love for the country. Patriotism is for all Malaysians regardless of race. Therefore, the money spent on BTN to have courses must reflect the 1Malaysia slogan by the PM. It should not only be to raise patriotism among the Malays. Malaysia is for all races so I disagree with any syllabus which only concentrates on patriotism just on one community, I disagree. If they have a problem with that, I want to know what is their problem,” he said.

Nazri questioned if Utusan Malaysia, which has been at the forefront of defending BTN courses, believes that Malaysia belongs only to the Malay community.

“Do they want to say that Malaysia belongs only to the Malays and the government is only a Malay government? Should only the Malays be given the spirit of patriotism? Other races are not patriotic about their country? So I want them to point out to me where is it that I’ve gone wrong If I disagree with the past syllabus,” he added.

Nazri also denied the claim made by Utusan that it was only him who wanted BTN to be revamped and not the Cabinet.

“The moment PM took over, when he introduced the 1 Malaysia slogan. It was soon after that because courses run by BTN using public funds must be used properly and it amounts to millions so if you want to talk about patriotism, patriotism for all, not just the Malays, for all Malaysians. It’s not because of the Selangor state government that we changed the syllabus so it’s long before that,” he said.

Nazri also questioned Utusan for deceiving Malaysians on BTN.

“You tell me, can I lie? I can’t. They must use their head lah. If they want to deny and all that. If the other side they do not know, it’s different but all these people were involved with BTN before. They were facilitators and directors so they know what’s going on.

“Come on lah, please, this is not 1961 or the 1970s. Information is freely available. I want them to get out of the denial syndrome, admit it and that’s in line with the PM’s slogan so why shouldn’t we change?” he asked.

The PR-led Selangor government recently imposed a ban on its civil servants and students within its state-run educational institutions from attending BTN courses, while Penang — another PR- governed state — is said to be considering similar action.

But the hawks in Umno, through Malay-based dailies like Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, have moved to defend BTN and attacked its critics as “traitors” who are trying to politicise the issue.

Utusan yesterday urged the government not to “bow down” to the opposition on BTN and said that it was Nazri who wanted the programme to be revamped even though the move was decided by the Cabinet.


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