The notorious National Civics Bureau – Biro Tatanegara (BTN)


Controversial: The BTN has been accused of
promoting racism, bigotry, disunity and intolerance in the name of
instilling patriotism through its activities, like this in the National
Transformation Training Programme.

National Civics Bureau – Biro Tatanegara

Pretty hate machine

Biro Tatanegaran has not only survived, but festered in a multinational country.

Its review is long overdue!

IF there’s one government agency which needs a complete overhaul by the new federal government, it must be the notorious National Civics Bureau, better known to Malaysians as Biro Tatanegara.

Over RM1.1bil of taxpayers’ money has been outrageously spent to promote racism, bigotry, disunity and intolerance in the name of instilling patriotism.

The BTN was set up in the 1970s as a Youth Research Unit under the Youth Ministry. But by the 1980s, the obscure agency had evolved into the BTN we know, and placed under the Prime Minister’s office.

Its objective is to nurture the spirit of patriotism among Malaysians, and train them into future leaders who are “well-rounded intellectually, emotionally and spiritually” to support national development efforts.

This monstrous machine was wellfed, not just during the Najib administration, but during the reign of the Mahathir administration as well. And certainly, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, too, used it as a political tool.

But that’s in the past. Malaysia has rebirthed. And as the perfect paradox, only Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as the new prime minister, can set things right again.

Anwar would surely support any move to review, if not, bury the BTN, because he ended up the bogeyman in its lectures in later years while he was in the political wilderness.

The BTN has been fraught by controversy for over three decades, with allegations of racism and political propaganda mainstays.

It is inconceivable that good taxpayers’ resources are poured into such an organisation, which many participants have said, blatantly drums up race and hate politics.

BTN’s brickbats come from either side of the political divide, yet the uproar seems to have fallen on deaf ears, presumably shackled by the lack of political will, or worse, tacit political support from the top.

In 1999, PKR leader Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad claimed that the BTN camp he attended was “racial and political in nature,” with trainers impressing on attendees that Malays required affirmative action. It even criticised PAS as “deviationist.”

Another party leader, Amirudin Shari, said “participants are indoctrinated with propaganda about ketuanan Melayu” or Malay dominance.

Another alumnus alleged she was told “the Malays were the most supreme race in the world, we were God’s chosen few, that the others were insignificant. We were warned about certain elements in our society and abroad, determined to undermine Malay excellence.”

In 2009, then minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz ticked off BTN, squashing excuses raised in a Parliament debate that allegations of racist teachings might have come from mere “minor slip-ups” by BTN lecturers.

“Don’t think that people outside do not know about the syllabus based on patriotism for Malays. They 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. It is ridiculous. 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?”

As Dr Mahathir settles in and combs through the list of government agencies, this is surely one Malaysians would want scrutinised as part of the process of trimming the fat.

In a piece in Malaysiakini, the writer aptly said, “the BTN is an anathema to the need to nurture critical and creative thinking among Malaysians.”

While it began as a youth research unit in 1974, under the Youth Ministry, it was reinvented as the BTN in the PM’s Department under Dr Mahathir.

BTN was run by many supporters of Anwar, himself a regular speaker at these courses, though he would come to regret the things he said then.

It has turned into an ethnic hate machine, as one writer put it, and has metamorphosed into an out of control monster.

Surely, Dr Mahathir wouldn’t have imagined what it has become. Even if he allowed it to evolve into a political tool to indoctrinate civil servants and scholarship holders, especially Malays, it is time for him to sort this out.

BTN may have been set up with the noble intention of “nurturing the spirit of patriotism and commitment to excellence among Malaysians, and train leaders and future leaders to support the nation’s development efforts”.

But that’s not what has happened. It has, instead, from all accounts, attempted to instil hate and prejudice among Malaysians, aspiring to produce leaders and future leaders with a jaundiced view.

Malaysians would remember that in September 2010, BTN deputy director Hamim Husin was reported for referring to the Chinese as “si mata sepet” (the slit-eyed) and Indians as “si botol” (the drinkers) during a Puteri Umno closed-door function.

Despite the outcry and media revelations, BTN was allowed to continue as it is, and with huge allocations streamed into these indoctrination camps.

According to Lim Kit Siang, the budgets for BTN multiplied tenfold in the 1990s (RM200mil) compared to the 1980s (RM20mil), and continued to increase. It more than doubled to over RM550mil in the first decade of the 21st century. From 2010 to 2015, the allocation for BTN totalled some RM365mil.

Now that the DAP is part of the government, it should be able to push for the right course of action, given its consistently strong stand against the organisation.

This is the most opportune time to can BTN. Malaysians believe the new federal government won’t be angling to allocate more funds to keep this monster alive.

By Wong Chun Wai who began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.
Related:

The writing is on the wall for BTN – Nation

//players.brightcove.net/4405352761001/default_default/index.html?videoId=5790576186001

 

Syed Saddiq backs abolition of BTN 

Review the position of political appointees individually 

Image result for National Civics Bureau - Biro Tatanegara (BTN) images
National Civics Bureau | HAKAM

This Week in Asia

Where will it end? Najib’s 1MDB chickens come home to roost

 

Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak after being questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. Photo: AFP
This Week in Asia

Where will it end? Najib’s 1MDB chickens come home to roost
27 May, 2018 – 08:43 am
The
1MDB scandal had haunted the administration of Najib Razak after first
coming to light in 2015. Now there is a new sheriff in town, the public
is on the edge of its seat as it watches the wheels of justice begin to
turn.

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Penang has confirmed the illegal hill clearing cases reported by Penang Forum


Land clearing in Penang is rampant with Civil liberties group, Penang Forum (PF) revealing only 7.4 per cent of the state is categorised as forested land. NSTP pix
Location : Near Lintang Bukit Jambul 1
Approximate Coordinates : 5°20’38.47″N,100°16’52.82″E
Report sent in August 2016. Photos taken in November 2016 and 2014. PHW Report 15 pix.

 

GEORGE TOWN: Penang has acknowledged that nine out of 29 hill clearing cases on the island, as reported by Penang Forum , were illegal.

Penang Forum representative Rexy Prakash Chacko said state Local Government Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow and Penang Island City Council (MBPP) had a discussion with them last week.

This came about after the forum’s first Penang Hills Watch (PHW) report on hill clearing cases was submitted to the state on Jan 2.

“They investigated the report and concluded that only nine were illegal clearing activities while the rest were legally permitted land works (14) and natural slope failure (one). The other five cases are still being investigated by the relevant departments.

“The illegal clearing cases have been issued with stop work orders or are being followed up by court action,” he said on Saturday.

Chacko commended Penang’s concern and transparency in responding to the PHW report.

He urged for close monitoring on the nine illegal clearing cases and for mitigation action to be taken to rehabilitate the areas if necessary.

“For those with permits, the forum hopes that the clearing will strictly adhere to the state laws on land works and drainage.”

Chow, when met at Datuk Keramat assemblyman Jagdeep Singh Deo’s CNY open house in Taman Free School, said he had discussed with Penang Forum members about the report and answered their queries.

The public can view the PHW report as well as the response from the state government at the Penang Hills Watch Facebook page (@PenangHillsWatch) or the Penang Forum website, and see them interactively on a map at the Penang Hills Watch page.

PHW, a citizen-oriented initiative to provide a platform to monitor activities affecting the hills of Penang, was launched in October last year by Penang Forum, a loose coalition of non-political civil society groups often critical of the state government’s plans and policies. –  The Star

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Nabbed Briton in Malaysia among five terror suspects, married 12 times


KUALA LUMPUR: A part-time English teacher from Britain who fought as an al-Qaeda militant in Afghanistan and Bosnia, is among the latest group of five men arrested for being involved in Islamic State (IS) and other terror groups.

Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division nabbed the 44-year-old Briton together with a 25-year-old Bangladeshi, a 29-year-old Nigerian, a 31-year-old Indonesian and a 59-year-old Malaysian, who is also a Rela member, in a se

 

Inspector-General of

ries of raids in Selangor, Kelantan, Johor and here between Nov 16 and Dec 1. Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the British national, a Muslim convert who had been under surveillance for some time, was arrested in Jalan Duta on Nov 16.

“He fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia after joining al-Qaeda. He was working as a part-time English teacher in Penang and we have been monitoring him closely,” the IGP said.

The Nigerian, who had been using his guise as a student in a private college in Petaling Jaya for his terrorism-related activities, was arrested a day later.

Investigators believe that he is actively connected to terror groups in Africa.

Both the Briton and Nigerian have since been deported.

The three other suspects, an Indonesian, a Bangladeshi and a Malaysian, are believed to have links to the IS.

The Indonesian, identified as the leader of the cell, was nabbed on Dec 1 in Benut, Pontian, where he was working as a mechanic.

The IGP said the man had performed the bai’ah (pledge of loyalty) to IS’ “Caliph” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi via Facebook in mid 2014.

“We also believe that he is one of the main persons recruiting and sending trained militants to Syria. We suspect that he has been arranging travels for IS followers in Malaysia and other South-East Asian countries,” he added.

It was learnt that the Indonesian had direct connections with known Malaysian militants, including former “The Ukays” band drummer Akil Zainal.

Akil, a Universiti Teknologi Mara graduate, was among the first batch of Malaysians who went to Syria and publicly declared support for militant groups.

The two other cell members, the Malaysian and the Bangladeshi, were arrested in Kota Baru and Klang respectively.

At a separate event, the IGP said Bukit Aman would always be on the alert with threats from the IS and other terror groups.

“We will not compromise when it comes to security. Every action will be taken to prevent bad things from happening in this country,” he said.

The IGP said terror groups, including the IS would not be allowed to gain a foothold in Malaysia, he added.

Asked whether any of the suspects had been planning to launch attacks in Malaysia, he said that was their main agenda.

Nabbed Terrorist Married 12 Times

KUALA LUMPUR: The British national nabbed along with four others for involvement in terrorism activities has a reputation of being a Casanova besides his militant tendencies.

The man has so far married 12 women, including five from Malaysia.

His other past and present wives are from the United Kingdom, Bosnia, Germany, Philippines and Indonesia.

“You could call him a Casanova terrorist,” a source told The Star.

“We have not come across a terrorist who has married so many women. He has been busy on the terror front but his love life is interesting as well.”

Apparently, his modus operandi has been to marry the women and divorce them after a few years.

“He is also suspected of duping the women into marriage for their money,” the source said.

It was learnt that a general manager of a bank was among his former Malaysian wives.

The man, who worked as a part-time English teacher in Penang, had been travelling in and out of Malaysia since 1998.

The authorities suspect that the Briton, who had been interacting with students, could be the head of a sleeper cell for the al-Qaeda in the country.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

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Racist Malay groups boycott Chinese businesses will be self-defeating


The call by pro-Umno bloggers and Muslim groups for a boycott of Chinese businesses is racist and will harm the country’s economic growth, according to businessmen from the community – The Malaysian Insider

Racist utusancina

PETALING JAYA: Boycotting products made by Malaysians, regardless of their race, is self-defeating, said a local business group.

Small and Medium Industries Association president Teh Kee Sin said the workforce of these companies are made up of all races and so are their shareholders.

If Malaysians started boycotting these products, it would also affect their export potential and both local businesses and consumers would lose, he said.

“Boycott doesn’t make sense as it would hamper the chances for Malaysian businesses to compete at a global level.

“The current business market is very competitive thus local businesses should complement each other to make our products more competitive,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Teh was commenting on calls by certain non-governmental organisations for the Malays to boycott Chinese traders and their products.

Prior to that there was a campaign in social media forum urging the Chinese to boycott certain products produced by a Malay company.

Teh said that the biggest losers as a result of such boycott were not just the consumers and the producers, but also the workers of the companies due to the spill-over effect.

The chain reaction from such boycott would also affect the suppliers, distributers, traders and shopkeepers.

Teh explained local businesses should instead prepare themselves for the Asean Economic Community initiative.

“The initiative presents a lot of opportunities provided we are ready.

“If we are not ready and squabble among ourselves, then we stand to lose,” he said.

He said one of the benefits of the AEC was less red-tape in starting businesses overseas.

“For example, one can set up a company in Malaysia and run a business in Thailand.

“In short less bureaucratic procedures in doing business,” he said adding that the competitiveness level would surely increase.

Teh urged groups calling for boycotts to cease immediately as it would only lead to huge losses for the nation.

“We should focus on working together rather than against each other,” he said.

By FARIK ZOLKEPLI farik@thestar.com.my

 

Mustapa against call to boycott products of Chinese firms

By NICHOLAS CHENG and P. ARUNA
newsdesk@thestar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed sa

“I can understand why some of my Malay friends have reacted in such a manner. However, as the dust is settling down and as we lead our normal lives once again, I am confident that the spirit of 1Malaysia will return,” he said through SMS yesterday.

He was commenting on reports that some groups had called for Malay consumers to boycott products by certain Chinese companies, which they alleged had funded Pakatan Rakyat’s campaign during the general election.

The products involved in the call for boycott include several brands of cooking oil, tonic drink, food outlets and bread.

It appears to be a retaliation against an earlier boycott called by Chinese groups against a brand of wheat flour and bread produced by a Malay company.

Muslim Wholesalers and Retailers Association (Mawar) president Amanullah Mohd Maideen said the boycott would be a double-edged sword and advised its 700 members to stay clear of politics.

“If it continues, the affected businesses will lose customers, but the groups which boycott them will also lose public support,” said Amanul-lah.

Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Hasan Malek said the ministry also did not approve of the call to boycott Malaysian Chinese shops and companies.

Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry president P. Muguntha said the call to boycott the products was pointless.

“Malaysian consumers are more intelligent than that. I don’t think anyone will listen to this call for boycott,” he said.

Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER) executive director Dr Zakariah Abdul Rashid said it is counterproductive to segregate the market based on political affiliation.

Commnent: Unless steps were taken to strongly “discourage” the instigators of the boycott, investors still wary over the “politicisation of businesses” may choose to explore opportunities elsewhere and this would affect Malaysia’s foreign direct investment (FDI)
  
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Malaysia is a Secular state or an Islamic country?


There are some law issues being argued of late, among them like Secular state and Islamic country, etc. Shad Saleem Faruqi Professor of Law at UiTM clarified that:

Secular state:

De facto law minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz crossed swords with DAP’s Lim Kit Siang over the latter’s claim that Malaysia is a secular state.

The law minister correctly pointed out that nowhere in the Constitution is there any mention of the word “secular”.

Further, as Islam is recognised in the Constitution as the religion of the federation, it would be improper to regard the country as a secular state.

In support of this view, one can point out that the word “Islam” is mentioned at least 24 times in the Constitution, the words Mufti, Kadi Besar and Kadi at least once each. In Schedule 9, List II, paragraph 1, state legislatures are permitted to apply Islamic law to Muslims in a variety of civil areas.

The state legislatures are also permitted to create and punish offences by Muslims against the precepts of Islam except in relation to matters within federal jurisdiction.

Syariah courts may be established. Under Article 121(1A), syariah courts are independent of the civil courts.

On the other side, Lim correctly pointed out that Malayan constitutional documents and pronouncements by early leaders indicate that at its birth the federation was meant to be a secular state.

To back this view, one can point to the Supreme Court decision in Che Omar Che Soh’s case that although Islam is the religion of the federation, it is not the basic law of the land.

Article 3 on Islam imposes no limits on the power of parliament to legislate contrary to the syariah. Islamic law is not the general law of the land either at the federal or state levels.

It applies only to Muslims and that too in limited and specified areas. It is noteworthy that non-Muslims are not subject to syariah or to the jurisdiction of the syariah courts.

Islamic country:

Ever since Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s declaration on Sept 29, 2001 that Malaysia is an Islamic country, this debate ignites periodically and no firm conclusion is ever possible because of the problem of semantics – the assignment of different meanings to the words “secular” and “theocratic” by participants in the discourse.

My personal view is that if by a theocratic state is meant that the law of God is the supreme law of the land and that the temporal ruler is subject to the final direction of the theological head, then clearly Malaysia is not a theocratic state due to the presence of a supreme Constitution and the overriding power of secular authorities over the religious establishment.

At the same time if by a secular state is meant that law and religion are separated from each other; that there is no legally prescribed official religion; that religion is not interwoven into the affairs of the state; that no state aid is given to any religious creed; and that religion is left entirely to private establishments, then Malaysia is certainly not a secular state.

Then how should we be described? It is submitted that the Malaysian legal system is neither fully secular nor fully theocratic. It is hybrid. It permits legal pluralism.

It avoids the extremes of American style secularism or Saudi or Taliban type of religious control over all aspects of life. It walks the middle path. It promotes piety but does not insist on ideological purity.

Muslims are governed by divinely ordained laws in some fields but in others their life is regulated by Malay adat and by secular provisions enacted by elected legislatures. Non-Muslims are entirely regulated by secular laws.

In sum, the secular versus theocracy debate is full of semantics and polemics and will take us nowhere.

Reflecting On The Law By Shad Saleem Faruqi

> Shad Saleem Faruqi is Emeritus Professor of Law at UiTM.

Related post:

Malaysia a transit point for terrorists or a terrorist recruitment centre?   

Malaysia a transit point for terrorists or a terrorist recruitment centre?


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is a transit point for terrorists, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

However, he stressed that the country is not a recruitment ground or a target for international terrorists groups.

“I want to assure Malaysians that the country is not a target at the moment,” Hishammuddin said after chairing a crime prevention meeting in Parliament yesterday.

He also dismissed fears that the country had become a recruitment ground for terrorists.

“I can confirm that this is not the case,” he said, adding that the two Malaysians detained in Beirut for alleged links to al-Qeada were not part of a terrorist cell here.

“The threat of global terrorism is a real threat and is not unique and limited to Malaysia and the arrest of the Malaysians clearly shows this,” he added.

Malaysians Muhamad Razin Sharhan Mustafa Kamal, 21, and Razif Mohd Ariff, 30, are being charged in a military court for allegedly being involved in terrorist activities.

Meanwhile, the Higher Education Ministry acknowledged that students are vulnerable to being recruited by terrorists.

“In this age of openness and visibility of information, students are also exposed to all this,” said Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin.

“I hope our students are mature and are not be swayed by these things,” he said after the launch of the Ready4Work online portal.

Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen said the arrests of Muhamad Razin and Razif would not change the good perception tourists have of Malaysia.

“The world knows Malaysia is not a centre of terrorism. There has never been a single terrorist incident in our country,” said Dr Ng after opening an anti-crime against women seminar in Raub yesterday.

However, she said all Malaysians should not let their guard down and continue to remain vigilant.

– The Star/Asia News Network

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PAS spiritual advice to women who did not cover up deserve to be raped!


PETALING JAYA: A four-year-old video recording of PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat saying women who did not cover up deserve to be raped has gone viral.

Nik Aziz said in the 5.47-minute clip that those who did not cover their aurat were tempting men to rape them. (Aurat is part of the body that must not be exposed in public in accordance with Islamic belief.)

“She did not cover her aurat, and got raped. Serves her right for being raped (dah dia buka aurat, dirogol, padanlah muka dirogol).

“She is selling cheap… her calf, her face, her thigh…rape lah,” he said in his speech recorded four years ago.

The video recording resurfaced on various blogs after MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek recently reminded Nik Aziz of his speech about how the eyes were linked to sexual organs and temptations.

Various blogs started to carry links to Nik Aziz’s video after Pakatan Rakyat leaders, including Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, labelled Dr Chua as being “anti-Islam”.

Dr Chua had said that he was merely quoting what Nik Aziz had said in his speech made in 2008.

Among the blogs that had uploaded Nik Aziz’ infamous speech are justread-whatever.blogspot.com, stopthelies.my, 1sya.com, and malaysiapeoplevoice.wordpress.com.

In the short speech, Nik Aziz who is also the Kelantan Mentri Besar, said the RM70,000 spent on their campaign to promote the covering of aurat was justified because it also helped check adultery.

“The eyes are inter-connected with sexual organs. Covering aurat automatically reduces adultery, reduces rape, reduces HIV, reduces AIDS, reduces incidents of marriage falling apart,” said Nik Aziz.

Nik Aziz also took a swipe at the media for making such a big fuss over rape cases and number of AIDS cases while at the same time encouraging people not to cover up their aurat.

“You (the media) are the one giving opportunity to the rakyat to expose aurat,” he said.

The malaysiapeoplevoice pointed out that the speech bear evidence to PAS’ real ideology, as Nik Aziz had clearly stated that those who exposed their aurat deserved to be raped.

By SIRA HABIBU The Star/Asia News Network

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