Dec 29, 2009

PM Najib rejects royal commission to probe Tun Mahathir


Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has dismissed the call to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate the claim that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wasted RM100bil during his years in office, saying there was no basis for it.

(Malaysiakini) Prime Minister Najib Razak said there was no need for a royal commission of inquiry to look into allegations hurled at former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the book 'Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times' authored by Barry Wain.

"There is always this call for a royal commission, everything you want royal commission, but (this) is not appropriate to call for a royal commission just because somebody has written a book.

"What is important for us is to look forward to the future. Each prime minister has made a lot of contribution, otherwise we wouldn't be what we are today, Malaysia will not be a successful nation and regarded as a role model if all the PMs in the past had not made their contribution," he said.

On Dec 21, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang in his blog had urged Najib to set up a royal commission to probe the allegations contained in the book, which among others had claimed that Mahathir had squandered up to RM100 billion during his 22 years as prime minister.

In an immediate response, Mahathir in his 'Chedet' blog welcomed the call for a royal inquiry and said he would cooperate fully with the commission.

Wain, who is the former managing editor of Asian Wall Street Journal, has estimated that Mahathir had squandered up to RM100 billion in his years as PM.


Dec 26, 2009

Ministry to check whether 'Maverick' is a security threat


KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — The Home Ministry is still studying the contents of the book authored by Barry Wain titled "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)", before making a decision on its circulation in Malaysia, said a statement from the ministry here today.

It said this was a normal procedure and that Barry Wain’s book was not exempted.

This was to ensure the book would not affect the prevailing peace and stability in the country, the statement said, adding that the ministry had 60 days to make a decision as to whether the book could be sold in Malaysia.

On Monday, the Customs Department refuted a report carried out by a news portal that it was holding 800 copies of the book in Port Klang since a month ago.

In the book, Wain, former managing editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal, had claimed that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had squandered up to RM100 billion in his 22 years in power.

However, Dr Mahathir in his blog www.chedet.co admitted there had been financial losses under his rule but the amount would not have exceeded RM10 billion and had also welcomed suggestions by his detractors for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to be set up to probe the matter.

He had also said that he reserved the right to sue Wain and others who had cast aspersions on him in the matter. — Bernama



Dec 25, 2009

Tun Mahathir dares Barry Wain to prove allegations


PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has challenged author of "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" to provide documented proof that he had burnt RM100bil during his tenure as prime minister.

Dr Mahathir said he reserved his right to sue author Barry Wain, who is with Singapore think-tank Southeast Asian studies, for libel.

He said the country would have been in deep financial trouble if it had lost such a hefty sum, adding that the government had honoured its financial commitments even during slow economic growth.

Highlighting three instances that cost Malaysia a fortune, Dr Mahathir had stressed in his blog that the quantum of losses could not have exceeded RM10bil.

He attributed the losses to London Metal Exchange ruling that its tin speculators need not honour contract to sell tin as they did not physically have the produce; to Bank Negara’s trading of foreign currencies, and to Bank Bumiputra’s losses in Hong Kong.

“Altogether I don’t think the amount lost added up to RM10bil even,” said Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir also pointed out that during his 22-year tenure as the prime minister, Petronas had paid the government RM126bil.

Whereas during Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s five-year tenure, Petronas had paid RM270bil as it enjoyed unprecedented profits due to high oil price.

The former premier also welcomed DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s proposal to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a royal commission to ascertain if he had burnt RM100bil on grandiose projects and on corruption.

Dr Mahathir said the commission should comprise foreigners and representatives from Transparency International, and that it should also investigate Abdullah’s regime to ascertain which projects were financed using Petronas funds and the costs involved.

The commission should also investigate the amount of losses due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and Johor Baru-Padang Besar railway projects, he added.

Dr Mahathir said the proposed commission should be given full access to government documents and accounts for the period between 1981 and 2009, adding there should be no cover up.

“Depending upon the result of the commission, I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and Malaysiakini.com for libel for a sum to be disclosed later,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also said that Wain would not criticise Singapore leaders as his colleagues who had written such stuff had been found guilty of defamation.


Dec 24, 2009

Tun Mahathir's maverick book withheld by Home Ministry

PETALING JAYA: The book on Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" was withheld by the Port Klang branch of the Home Ministrys’ Quran Publication Control and Text Division.

Royal Malaysian Customs Department headquarters confirmed that the book had been withheld but clarified that it was not held by the Customs Department as reported by online media.

“Following investigations, it was found that the book was actually withheld by the Port Klang branch of the Home Ministrys’ Quran Publication Control and Text Division,” the department’s public communications section senior assistant director of customs 1 Zazuli Johan clarified Thursday.

It was also reported that the former premier wanted the book on him, which was written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain to be released, saying that he did not need any protection.

The book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia as prime minister from 1981 to 2003. The book credits the former premier with Malaysia’s economic growth but it also blames him for losses of RM100bil during his tenure.

On Wednesday, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Dr Mahathir over allegations in the book.

Dr Mahathir in his blog welcomed the suggestion saying that the commission should not be confined to one Prime Minister alone but should also look into Tun Abdullah Badawi’s years in power.

Malaysia Transparency International president Datuk Paul Low also called for the release of the book saying that it was a matter of public interest.

“Why should it be withheld? It can always be made available across the border. It doesn’t make sense. When you withhold something, it is because it is harmful the society especially children, but in this case it’s an issue of information or research by somebody.

“We should defend it with the truth. We need to be much more open about it,” he Thursday said when commenting on the book which was held by the authorities.

Low said he believed that the Malaysian society was matured enough to be able to discern what was correct information and make proper assessment.

He added that even Dr Mahathir called for its release and had no reservation about it being distributed.

In a media statement issued by the Aliran executive committee recently, Malaysians should not be denied the right to have access to material that critically commented on Malaysia’s recent history and of its past leaders from a wide range of perspectives.

It said that Malaysians’ right to make their own judgement and assessment of things past and present must be respected and honoured in a country that claimed to be very democratic.

“Otherwise, we shall be exposed as a sham democracy,” it said adding that it called on Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein to confirm if the book has indeed been held up, confiscated or banned.


Dec 23, 2009

Tun Mahathir wants ‘Malaysian Maverick’ book to released

Tun Mahathir wants the new book on him which is written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" to be released. The book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia as prime minister from 1981 to 2003. In the book, Tun Mahathir is alleged to have been blamed for “wasting” or “burning up” RM100 billion in his tenure as the fourth prime minister.

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants the book Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad In Turbulent Times to be released to bookstores following online reports that they have been held by the Customs Department.

The former prime minister, who said he did not need any “protection”, said: “If the Government is withholding the book, I would request that the book be released forthwith.”

The book, written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain, has been described as the first independent and full-length study of Dr Mahathir. Launched on Dec 4, it credits Dr Mahathir with Malaysia’s economic growth during his tenure as prime minister.

However, the author also blames the former premier for losses of RM100bil during his 22 years in power.

On Wednesday, DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Dr Mahathir over allegations from the book.

Dr Mahathir in his blog yesterday welcomed the suggestion.

He said the commission should not be confined to one prime minister alone but should also look into Tun Abdullah Badawi’s years in charge.



Dec 22, 2009

Tun Mahathir agrees to probe on whether he ‘burned’ RM100b

A new book on former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has hit the bookshelves. Written by veteran Australian journalist Barry Wain, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)" takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia as prime minister from 1981 to 2003.In the book, Dr Mahathir is alleged to have been blamed for “wasting” or “burning up” RM100 billion in his tenure as the fourth prime minister. He also said that he "reserved the right" to sue author Barry Wain, opposition leader Lim Kit Siang and online news daily Malaysiakini for defamation.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 22 — A combative Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today he welcomed Lim Kit Siang’s call for the government to set up a royal commission to probe whether he “burned” RM100 billion on grandiose projects and corruption.

The former prime minister added, however, that Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration should also ask the same commission to investigate Tun Abdullah Badawi.

“I will cooperate fully with the commission.

“Depending upon the results of the commission I reserve the right to sue Barry Wain, Lim Kit Siang and malaysiakini.com for libel for a sum to be disclosed later,” he wrote on his popular chedet.cc blog today.

Dr Mahathir was referring to the recent publication of the book, "Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific)", written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain.

In the book, Dr Mahathir is alleged to have been blamed for “wasting” or “burning up” RM100 billion in his tenure as the fourth prime minister. Malaysiakini.com published excerpts from the book.

Yesterday, the DAP’s Lim urged the Najib government to investigate the allegations.

“I welcome Lim Kit Siang’s proposal for Najib to set up a royal commission on whether I burned RM100 billion...during my 22-year reign,” said Dr Mahathir.

Such a commission, he said, should not be made up of government nominees, but should instead have as members “impeccable people including foreigners and members of Transparency International.”

He said the probe’s terms of reference should also include how RM270 billion of Petronas money, paid during Abdullah’s five-year term, was spent.

“It should include how much money was lost due to the cancellation of the crooked bridge and the Johore Baru to Padang Besar railway.”

He cited other projects during the Abdullah era which he said should be investigated.

They include the cost over-runs in the construction of the Bakun Hydroelectric project, and also the financing of the second Penang Bridge and the procedure followed when giving out the contract.

“I also agree with Lim Kit Siang that the investigation would reflect Najib’s commitment to ‘combating corruption’.

“In order that the enquiry by the commission is successful, the government must give an undertaking to give full access to the commission to all the documents and accounts of the government over the period 1981-2009. There should be no cover-up of any kind.”

He also suggested that Wain, the writer of the book that has sparked the controversy, should provide “documentary proof of any sum that he alleged I had burned.”

Dr Mahathir also urged the government not to ban the book for distribution in Malaysia. “I am not in need of protection,” he added.

Dec 19, 2009

Mahathir book ‘stuck at Customs’


The Customs Department have been holding up delivery of 800 copies of an authoritative new biography of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for the past three weeks in Port Klang. The book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific), written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain, is a warts-and-all, critical but fair account of Mahathir's 22 years in power.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 19 — The Malaysian Customs Department has been holding up delivery of 800 copies of a new biography of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for three weeks, a news analysis website says.

The book, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times (Critical Studies of the Asia-Pacific), is written by former Asian Wall Street Journal managing editor Barry Wain.

The 363-page book takes a critical look at how Dr Mahathir led Malaysia from 1981 to 2003.

Foreign-published books air-freighted into Malaysia often go through Customs unchecked, or with only a cursory check at the airport, the Asia Sentinel website reported two days ago

But books sent by ship or by land from Singapore are often stopped for inspection, which can mean Customs officers spending weeks reading them, it added.

“The book will probably turn up on bookshelves eventually,” one Malaysian source told the Asia Sentinel.

“There are lots of books on the shelves that are critical of Dr Mahathir. It might be some of his allies that stopped it. But everybody knows about it.”

Wain, 65, credits Dr Mahathir with engineering Malaysia’s economic growth. But with fast-paced growth came problems such as huge investment losses.

It was also under his leadership that the ruling Umno evolved from a political party to one with huge stakes in business.

Dr Mahathir has yet to comment on the book.

The Customs Department could not be contacted yesterday because of a public holiday in the country. — The Straits Times


Dec 16, 2009

Tun Mahathir blasts OIC for failing to unite Muslims

The former Prime Minster, Tun Mahathir has criticized the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which he said had failed to unite Muslims.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has lambasted the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) which he said had failed to unite Muslims.

“It often serves to emphasise divisions within the Muslim world. The disagreements between member countries are so obvious as to expose their disunity,” he claimed on Tuesday.

Dr Mahathir, who was the prime minister when Malaysia chaired the OIC in 2003, said the problem was that it was an organisation of governments of countries whose interests took precedence over the religion.

“As an organisation of governments, the OIC is unable to consider anything purely on the basis of religious injunctions or the interest of religion.

“Even the injunction of Islam that all Muslims are brothers could not override certain other national priorities,” he said in his keynote address at the Second International Muslim’s Unity conference.

The OIC, he added, worked on a basis of consensus which was not conducive to organisational decision making.

He suggested setting up a chain of Muslim non-governmental organisations in Muslim communities and countries to restore the brotherhood and unity of Muslims regardless of sects or differences.

Using such NGOs as the vehicle for Muslim unity, he said, should be focused on the promotion of Muslim brotherhood, reducing misunderstandings or suspicions, acquiring knowledge and skills, and pushing for better education systems, among others.

Muslim NGOs, he added, must also launch a concerted campaign to stop the “revenge mentality” which leads to blind retaliation.

“Muslims are very angry. And in anger, they lash out at everyone, including other Muslims. They blow themselves up in revenge, killing at random, not so much their enemies as they do their own people.

“After they have lost their lives, what have they gained? Basically nothing that will stop their enemies from continuing to oppress and kill them,” he said.

Muslims, Dr Mahathir said, must work out plans and strategies with the objective of achieving success in their struggles.

“One should be prepared to accept partial unity if total unity cannot be achieved as much can still be done,” he said.

“Today, Muslims are deeply divided into many different sects which often are violently pitted against each other.

“Lethal suicide bombers of different sects direct their attacks against each other, killing hundreds of Muslims each time. They may believe they will become martyrs and go to heaven but can we really believe they will when they go against the injunctions of the Quran that Muslims must not kill Muslims?

“True practising Muslims must stop the fighting, reduce the divisions and restore brotherhood and unity,” he said.

Dec 15, 2009

Tun Mahathir : Don't let us be re-colonised

The Government has ignored the language of knowledge and success by snubbing English as a teaching medium for Mathematics and Science subjects in schools, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The former Prime Minister said to acquire knowledge, one must have a good command of English, which he described as a universal language.

(Bernama) Malaysians have an extremely important role of mastering English to acquire knowledge at a faster pace to ensure there is no "re-colonisation" of the country, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Without a good command of English, the former prime minister noted, the people would not acquire knowledge quickly.

He said this would, in turn, open doors to those knowledgeable to dominate and influence them, either directly or indirectly.

"English is the language of the Knowledge Age. Countries which do not master English will not only be left behind but risk being colonised, either directly or indirectly.

"Without knowledge, countries will be oppressed and even invaded," Dr Mahathir told reporters after delivering his keynote address entitled, "The Leadership and Policy Components for the Knowledge Society: A Proposed Best Practice for Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member countries" at the 17th Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS) conference.

The conference was opened by the Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah at a hotel near here.

The four-day conference which began today, is jointly organised by IAS, Universiti Industri Selangor (Unisel) and International Islamic Academy of Life Sciences and Biotechnology.

Dr Mahathir said that only by mastering English, could the people in this country acquire knowledge at a faster pace so as not to be left behind by development.

He said, the people would not lose their identity by seeking knowledge in English.

"English is not only for English people but (it is) a universal language. I am not an Englishman but I speak English," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir said the current leadership was "ignoring success" by abolishing the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (PPSMI) and reverting to Bahasa Malaysia.

"I don't think the government understands the importance of English as a language of knowledge when they decided to switch from English to Malay (in teaching Science and Mathematics)," he said.

Recently, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government had decided to reverse the PPSMI policy and revert to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools, and Chinese and Tamil in vernacular schools from 2012.

The PPSMI policy was implemented in phases, beginning with Year One, Form One and Lower Six students in 2003, under Dr Mahathir's administration.

Earlier, when delivering his keynote address, Dr Mahathir said knowledge was expanding rapidly, especially in science, and books and writings on this subject were in English.

He said that possibilities were there to override past beliefs in the field of science, which could not be done in geography and history.

"Knowledge in science is not static, unlike geography and history where facts are structured and limited.

"In science, we can always go back and question the scientific principles and decide whether they are right or not," he said, adding new discoveries were coming out in torrents in English.

Dec 14, 2009

Bumi varsity quota not racist, says Tun Mahathir

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday the the Bumiputera university quota should not be considered as racist act as it is opportunities given to Bumiputeras to enter public universities and to ensure that Bumiputeras were not left behind in mainstream education.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday the opportunities given to Bumiputeras to enter public universities should not be disputed as a racist act that favours one race at the expense of the others.

The former prime minister said the move was to ensure that Bumiputeras were not left behind in mainstream education as this could have negative repercussions.

He said at private institutions of higher learning, Bumiputera enrolment was very low, only about 10 per cent, while the rest was made up of students from other races.

This was because many Bumiputeras could not afford the fees.

"If we conduct a census of the number of students in private universities, there are more non-Bumiputera students. That's why we give attention and more places to Bumiputeras," he said in his keynote address, "UUM 25 Years Expectation vs Reality", at the Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) Alumni Convention 2009 here.

"So, we should not feel guilty because we reserved places for Bumiputeras. We have a right to attain a position that is on par in this country."

Dr Mahathir said the affirmative action policy of bringing Bumiputeras into the mainstream of development in the country was not something extreme because although they made up about 60 per cent of the population, the quota was only 30 per cent.

He added that the extra attention and opportunities given to Bumiputeras did not mean the other races were sidelined.

He said it was important for Bumiputeras to have knowledge to run a business because many of them did not use the money as capital or to invest but to shop.

"We must change the Bumiputera's mindset. The money will bring returns when invested and this can enhance their wealth. Normally, they will spend when they have money.

"And very often, it is more than the money available and this causes problems." -- Bernama.

Dec 9, 2009

Nazri : Tun Mahathir is the "father of all racism"



Minister in the Prime Minister Department’s Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz attacked Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad again and called the former Umno president the “father of all racism” as the row between the two men over the controversial National Civics Bureau (BTN) continued. Nazri criticised the former prime minister for being a hypocrite and said: "Who does Mahathir think he is?”

(Malaysiakini) Prior to his retirement in 2003, the former premier, who ruled the nation for more than two decades, was heralded as the 'Father of Modernisation'.

Now he has been conferred with a new title by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz.

According to him, the 84-year-old medical doctor turned politician is the 'father of all racism'.

Nazri today continued with his verbal tirade against the former Umno president over the controversy surrounding the National Civics Bureau (BTN) programme.

While the minister wanted a revamp of the curriculum, Mahathir defended it, leading Nazri to accuse him of doublespeak and racism.

Yesterday, Mahathir retaliated by challenging Nazri to resign from Umno, which the former president described as a racist organisation.

Dissatisfied, Nazri fired a fresh round of attacks in the Parliament lobby this afternoon.

"He says I'm in a racist party so he confirms what I said about him. If he says I'm in a racist party, then he's the father of all racism... he was president of Umno for 22 years.

"As ex-prime minister, he should give better suggestions. I feel sorry for him but I will continue (hitting out). Please do not think (I'm) being disrespectful but if he's free to comment about us, then he must accept the fact that he is open to criticism also," he said.

'I learnt the craft from him'

Reiterating that he meant no disrespect, Nazri said Mahathir's supporters must understand that it is about democracy and free speech.

On a sarcastic note, the minister pointed out that he is merely employing the skills he had learnt from the former premier.

"In 1969, when he criticised Tunku Abdul Rahman, (was) that not disrespectful? He taught me (the art). If he does it, it is ok, but if we do it then it is disrespectful? He is my teacher," he said.

Nazri (left) said he will also not give Mahathir the "pleasure" of seeing him resign from Umno.

"I'm not stupid to fall into his trap," the minister said, adding that he was puzzled as to why Mahathir disliked him when it was the latter who appointed him.

"I didn't force him, I didn't put a gun to his head. He knows I'm a good minister and I have been a minister for three terms. Each time a new prime minister takes over, there are rumours that I will be dropped. I have been a minister for 10 years. I only serve the rakyat," he added.

'The public must know'

On Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin's statement that labelling Mahathir a racist was extreme, Nazri said he was entitled to his opinion.

"That is his (Muhyiddin's) view but he is in Japan and the issue is happening here," he said.

Muhyiddin, who is on a special trade and investment mission to Japan, had cautioned Barisan Nasional leaders against locking horns with each other in the open.

Furthermore, Nazri said with modern technology there was no way to conceal information from the public.

"Even if you fart, people will know. So what is wrong in fighting in the open? The public has the right to know views of both sides so why must you hide? If you are faint-hearted, then don't come into politics.

"I'm not faint-hearted. I take up any fight. If I'm right, I'm right but if I'm wrong, I will say sorry. But in this case, I'm right," he asserted.

Nazri said leaders who supported the current BTN curriculum should stop being in denial and support a revamp that will reflect the '1Malaysia' concept.

"We are not katak di bawah tempurung, we are katak bawah glass (we are not frogs under coconut shells but frogs under a glass). We can see what is happening and yet we still want to deny it," he said.

"The old BTN did not involve (Prime Minister) Najib (Abdul Razak), now we have 1Malaysia so obviously the curriculum should reflect that," he added.



Tun Mahathir challenges Nazri to quit ‘racist’ Umno


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today hit back at Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for calling him a racist and urged the minister to instead quit Umno because it was indeed a racist party. The former premier and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department have been at loggerheads over the need to revamp the National Civics Bureau (BTN), which critics charge with cultivating racism instead of its original purpose of nation building

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has challenged Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz to resign from the 'racist party' Umno.

The former prime minister said Nazri "belongs to a party that is only meant for the Malays and no one else can join in."

“He is a member of a racist party and he is anti-racist so he should just resign from Umno,” Dr Mahathir said after giving a keynote address at a seminar on Malaysia-Indonesia economic cooperation.

Dr Mahathir was responding to Nazri's comment that he (Dr Mahathir) 'is a racist for defending the National Civics Bureau (NCB training modules.'

"(He) must be right if he said so," said Dr Mahathir.

“I must be a racist if Nazri says I am racist. Don’t ever say that I am not. He knows everything,” he added.

Dr Mahathir had previously said criticisms against the NCB modules were exaggerated.

The course, he said, should be retained as it taught valuable history lessons and instilled good values such as discipline and integrity. Nazri however reiterated his stance yesterday that the NCB should be revamped as patriotism was for all Malaysians regardless of race. He said the syllabus should not focus on patriotism for one community alone.


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.


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.