BTN is a unit of the Prime Minister’s Department
18 May 2018
No place for Biro Tata Negara in new Malaysia, says Suaram
Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong says the BTN has for years promoted ‘ketuanan Melayu’ and its actions do not foster national unity.
KUALA LUMPUR: Suaram has called on the new government to dissolve the Biro Tata Negara (National Civics Bureau or BTN) under the Prime Minister’s Department as it is a hindrance to national unity and critical thinking.
Suaram adviser Kua Kia Soong said in a statement today that through the years, BTN’s programmes had been reported to have explicitly promoted ketuanan Melayu (Malay dominance) and were unabashedly partisan to the then governing Barisan Nasional.
“In 2009, the Selangor and Penang state governments even prohibited their state civil servants, employees of state subsidiaries, and students at state-owned institutions from attending BTN courses because they were seen as racist indoctrination.”
The BTN was set up purportedly “to nurture the spirit of patriotism and commitment to excellence among Malaysians, and train leaders and future leaders to support the nation’s development efforts”.
However, Kua said, for years under the New Economic Policy, “it has been an open secret that Malay students and civil servants had to go through ‘indoctrination’ sessions by the BTN”.
He said: “In late 2009, many allegations of racism and political propaganda surfaced in the online press. Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, assemblyman for Seri Setia in the State Legislative Assembly of Selangor, claimed that the BTN camp he attended was ‘racial and political in nature,’ with trainers telling attendees that Malays require affirmative action and criticising the opposition Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) as ‘deviationist’.
“Amirudin Shari, assemblyman for Batu Caves, claimed that ‘participants are indoctrinated with propaganda about ketuanan Melayu and external threats’. Another participant claimed he was taught that the Chinese were ‘the Jews of Asia,’ and part of a conspiracy to topple the government.”