Dec 9, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Keep the BTN Course

There is no need to revamp National Civics Bureau (BTN) training modules as in the current form, they were fine for instilling the patriotic spirit among Malaysians, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The former prime minister was also of the opinion that the BTN curriculum had helped foster unity as the courses conducted by the agency were attended by Malaysians of all races.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad feels that that the course curriculum of the National Civics Bureau’s (Biro Tatanegara) should be be retained.

The former prime minister said having delivered lectures at BTN several times, including speaking on the country’s history, he found the course to be appropriate.

He said the BTN served its purpose in explaining to government officers the importance of being committed to their service for the good of the nation.

While people sometimes misunderstood the values taught under BTN to create a progressive culture, Dr Mahathir said he did not see the course's module as being negative.

Speaking after opening the World AIDS Day 2009 commemoration event at the Wangsa Walk Mall yesteday, Dr Mahathir said: “However, deciding on whether the BTN should be revamped or not is the government’s responsibility.”

He said it was true that the BTN modules touched on the country’s history, including about the origins of the Malays, Chinese and Indians, adding that there was nothing wrong with that.

Dr Mahathir was commenting on the a recent statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz that the BTN would be reviewed to mirror the 1Malaysia concept.

The relevance of BTN had been hotly debated following the Selangor government’s decision to bar its civil servants and students of state-owned institutions of higher learning from attending the course. Selangor claimed that it was a Barisan Nasional (BN) effort to indoctrinate the people.

“There is nothing negative about BTN as the module is appropriate to instill awareness about nationalism,” said Dr Mahathir.

Commenting on opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s call for an independent observer from Australia to oversee Malaysia’s 13th general elections, Dr Mahathir said: “That is his (Anwar’s) style. He prefers to trust the white people and not the Malays.”

To a question on the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), Dr Mahathir said a study on the matter should be done first, with feedback from all stakeholders. He said it was important that the GST did not add burden to the people.

In his keynote address at the function yesterday, Dr Mahathir called on non-governmental organisations and the private sector to assist the government in educating the public on avoiding diseases such as AIDs.

He said ignorance was the main reason for the spread of AIDs, adding that with early education from young, the rise in rise spread of such diseases could be curbed.

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