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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 29 November 2009

The BTN issue


The PM should not be goaded into dismantling the BTN. Generations of participants (students, government officers) have gone through various BTN courses without adopting the bigotry decried by many.

I have attended talks and ceramahs carried out by BTN speakers. I didn't think they were hate speeches. If at all, I found them to be informative and instructive.

Many have also benefited from some of the social programs funded by BTN. The outward bound modules teach team building and group think. I have never heard of non Malays being referred as to as Jews or derisively as a Golem.

The PM shouldn't be cornered into making a hasty decision on account of a polished and made-for-movie presentation by a cabinet minister. A reasoned white paper is a better alternative source on which to decide.

Exception rather than a rule.

Let's accept that some facilitator did say that Chinese are the Jews of Malaysia or the East or something. Has that kind of indoctrination created a sea wave of general resentment towards the Chinese?

It's also interesting to note that Kelantanese are also referred sometimes as the Malay Jews as a result of their business acumen and sharp business practices. I think they are called that more so because of their industriousness in general. Do other non- Kelantanese carry on with life burdened with hate and resentment towards Kelantanese?

One meets with the same negative answer with the referral of the Chinese as a Malaysian Jew. The test is has the person who has heard that blatant and racist bigoted statement continued in life with that 'germ of divisiveness'? Obviously he/she is repulsed by such bigotry leading that person to now denounce BTN.

The further point is- the BTN which was set up in 1974 shouldn't be dismantled on account of this particular and localized narrow-mindedness. The reason is that such a chauvinism in not sustainable in light of rising social consciousness.

Let's not be petty minded on account of a localized and isolated incident of bigotry. Let us also not be petty minded and nit picking on a song meant more to jolt the Malays into heightened social consciousness. More animosity and contempt are stirred up by insensitive policies adopted by political parties than what BTN does.

The Selangor government thinks the worse of course participants. They think these people are malleable putty, easily contorted and brainwashed. What has the recent General Elections showed? No amount of brainwashing can conceal your weaknesses and the people have shown this during the GE12. That, despite of so many having been 'brainwashed' by BTN.

So when people say be done with BTN, please identify which aspects of the BTN they find revolting and abusive?

What tactics do you employ to persuade a liberal-minded PM? It's a shameless flattery in trying to knock off BTN by comparing it with the concept of 1 Malaysia when the 1Malaysia concept has not yet been accepted in the first place. 1 Malaysia itself is contentious and one would be fooled into believing that if BTN is abolished, that means 1 Malaysia is accepted. That's an old trick used by Lim Kit Siang.

BTN stands for Biro Tata Negara. It was formed way back in 1974 and was probably thought as a means to instill a mental revolution especially among Malays to awaken from their slumber. To wake people up from centuries of mental subjugation, would require some shock tactics. None more shocking than to dramatize our past.

It's a government department responsible for instilling civic consciousness among Malaysians. It has also financed many programs conducted by NGOs. Normally, when it finances these programs, BTN officers will be given a slot to speak on a number of issues.

BTN has recently come under severe criticisms. It is accused of planting the seeds of divisiveness incompatible to the new national slogan of 1 Malaysia. Many websites and writers have joined in the widespread condemnation of BTN.

One website carried a video of the initiation song of BTN participants. Generations of ITM students were also serenaded with this particular song- Anak Kecil Main Api. I have listened to the songs many times and truth be told, couldn't decipher what's the fuss is all about.

People are moved by this song according to their understanding level. You make out the song according to your level of understanding capacity. You walk out with a Pollyannaish attitude or you come out with extreme pessimism and paranoia seeing enemies around every corner. Has that song created the latter?

It tells about the lot of the Malays falling behind other races. It doesn't blame other races for the Malay predicament. It tells how once upon a time Malays achieved glory. Reading in between the lines one can immediately understand the message. That Malays can achieve the prominence once achieved by their ancestors by working hard.

It's an uplifting song with no sinister motive. It's not a KKK song or Mary Phagan Anthem exhorting Malays to kill Chinese or other non Malays. Mary Phagan was a Caucasian girl allegedly murdered by a Jewish American named Leo Frank. Her murder led to the emergence of an organization known as Knights of Mary Phagan which later became the KKK.

The BTN was set up to instill passion in the spirit of Malays. It owns up to the fact, that the lot by which the Malays now find themselves, is the result of their own efforts or lack thereof.

No, it doesn't not teach participants that Chinese are Jews. BTN does not instill hatred. Perhaps for the Selangor government, the chickens have come home to roost. BTN becomes a convenient scapegoat.


Tam Dalyell 29 November 2009 at 08:17  

Heh heh the mighty kkk Lim Kit Siang and Khalid Gagab intimidated by Anak-Kecil-Bermain-Api-BTN.

Hello kkk & ga-ga-ga-ga, act your salt please rather than to take on an anakkecil.

Paranoid Android 29 November 2009 at 10:28  

Dear Datuk,

A lucid commentary, as always. I feel that the whole issue was not handled properly. Instead of coming out with sweeping statements saying that the BTN courses are good, and there were never any untoward comments made, it does not discount the fact that it might have been infiltrated and hijacked by people who has some hang ups about multi racial Malaysia.

What should be done is to identify the complainants and other attendees, find out who the course instructors were and to check if the alleged incidents took place. Most rakyats are rather put off by the high handed approach. The Government knows best, and can do no wrong.

If indeed such analogies were uttered, offer an apology, issue a statement that this will not be condoned and let the public know what measures are being proposed to prevent such incidents from recurring. That would gain a few brownie points, at least for me.

After all, there can't be smoke without a fire.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 11:09  

Dato' BTN must go away and the criticisms focusing on BTN have some truth!!!!
I have attended the course once, twice ...hmmmm. Don't think we need to hide behind all these BTN and many other get together!!!
Let it be open, so what??? If we hate the Chinese the way they do think here, we Malays should be brave enough to tell them off and same to the Indians...kata kan ini Tanah Melayu, tapi kalau kita ni mudah sangat kena beli maka abis lah wei....depan cakap lain, belakang pun lain so this nation will end up with no direction, tak tahu mana nak di tuju, ask UMNO whether they know what is going on in this nation and with Najib as PM??? I doubt!!! but they sure know where to make quick bucks!!!
Masalah Melayu Dato'!!!!! nak kemana kita?!!!

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 12:14  

I participated twice in the BTN course and on both occassion,I'm made to believe thar Anwar is swindler and an American agent. When I questioned what concrete evidence they had about their accusation on Anwar,they(BTN) said its not for me to know why and how but to accept the fact at face value.

I just wonder,what these officers have against Anwar,after all he's an opposition leader and like any opposition he got his right to criticize the government. But just to make malicious accusation for someone who isnt around to defend himself.

BTN should be more professional and musnt be used as an UMNO tool in the process.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 12:44  

Cow dung! BTN spits hate and racism. Shut it down.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 13:17  

Another apologist for racialist UMNO.
You cannot say that is alright to make derogatary description of others just because the Malays did not react against those who have been so described.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 15:53  

The participants are all malays. Brainwashed to hate other races

Ariff Sabri 29 November 2009 at 17:33  

looking at the 3 last comments, i am beginning to think, perhaps these are the sentiments that justify the things BTN is accused of.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 19:49  

No wonder malay can't compete with others. "jaguh kampung". "Bapak borek; anak rintik".

Suci Dalam Debu 29 November 2009 at 20:24  


I believe that the original intentions of BTN has been hijacked, just like that of NEP.

One is like propaganda ala Nort Korea and the other like Apartheid of Southern Africa.

Both should be demolished because their foundations are not SIRIM Approved.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 22:09  

I believe that people should experience BTN themselves before bad-mouthing the course. Different people have a different level of understanding. So you shouldn't believe the rumors until you've actually seen one.

I found that the BTN modules are informative, reminding people about the origin of Malaysia and its people. They taught us the importance of unity, so that history won't repeat itself.

Those who misinterpret 'Warisan' (anak kecil main api),didn't know and understand our own history.

Anonymous,  29 November 2009 at 23:55  

opposition afraid of stupid..can a one week course change the minds of people? do they think people are so weak minded that a one week course can indoctrinate the minds of people to be zombies? dumb, dumber, dumbest...they claim people now have their eyes wide open but still they are afraid..maybe they have too many weaknesses that they have no other areas to counter the BN supremacy..rascist people are a product of their own environment and not a one week BTN course...

Navi 30 November 2009 at 16:23  

Dear Datuk,
The mere need of BTN to instill civic consciousness amongst Malaysians suggests that our Education System has completely failed. If the rakyat cannot be instilled with the subject matter through their 11 years in school in their formative age, and the three to four years in colleges and universities, A few days of exposure to BTN will surely not succeed and we can see the results in the many abuses that is happening in our beloved land. Just do away with BTN.

Suci Dalam Debu 30 November 2009 at 20:59  

Anon 22:09 of Malaysia..

Did they tell you the position of the orang Asli should be at the very TOP or did the say this land belongs to Malays (and orang Asli)....

yes, orang Asli in brackets.

Come cleanlah, this land belongs to orang Asli, the rest are all Pendatangs! Has Numerical superiority given the Malays the right to claim everything for themselves?

Can Indonesia suddenly send 20 million Javanese to Malaysia and change the name to Javaland?

Since we cannot change history, let us accord every Malaysian equal rights and help the poor ones irrespective of race.

Anonymous,  1 December 2009 at 03:00  

suci dalam debu,

Tanah Melayu/Malaya/Malaysia is part of Kepulauan Melayu. Thus, orang Asli isn't the only indigenous people of this land.

And yes, the Malays has the right to claim everything and they should.They have seen what has happened to the Malays of Singapore and they have no desire to be like Singapore Malays.

But that doesn't mean other races are completely abandoned. "Adil tak bermakna sama rata"

I have no intention to turn this into a fight or anything. Hope you understand.

Anonymous,  1 December 2009 at 10:05  

schools are not the only place where one gets your eyes..schools can do only so much..children spend an average of 5-6 hours a day..the rest they spend in their parents what are the parents doing? either gobbling up capitalism or playing politics?

Fi-sha 1 December 2009 at 11:45  


Dear Dato' Sak

Like NS, BTN is such a wasteful program. You said that many had gone through this program without adopting the bigotry decried by many. Hmm, perhaps, they were sleeping throughout the lectures, maybe they didn't give a hoot or two on what being said. So, what good does it make sending these people for BTN?

If BTN is good, our country should be in a better position in every sense because we have good government in place, we have responsible and accountable people who love their Ibu Pertiwi dearly that they would do protect its sanctity, integrity and people.

Alas, we have too many money-siphoning, badly planned 'Gajah Putih' projects.

Unfortunately, our judiciary and enforcement systems are badly tarnished.

Today, BTN is purely a propagandist tool. It undermines our intelligence and provokes sinister emotions.

Like NS, BTN is just another tell-tale sign that our education system is such a failure.

What a shame.

Anonymous,  1 December 2009 at 12:53  

hi dato,

im sort of a 'fan' of your blog although i hardly leave comments.

we are all talking about btn like we have all been there. the truth is many of us mostly non malays have not been there. maybe this is the cause of all these misunderstanding and allegations against btn.

for a course with such noble intentions i think btn should be opened to all races and not only to malay civil servants and uni students.

the problem is these courses were never video recorded and participants were never allowed to record them. someone said even cellphones were not allowed in the courses. but if all the courses were recorded we wouldn't have to speculate or accuse one another over something only some of us have experience. we will also be able to pinpoint the few alleged bad hats lecturers that's instilling hate instead of unity. if all the btn courses were recorded we will probably understand that btn needs to be retained as a unity tool. and of course more non malays should be invited to attend its courses.

so dato, in all your experience as a politician, a blogger and as a human being why do u think there is such secrecy over the contents of btn?why isn't it ever recorded or opened to all races??i've even heard that the contents of btn is protected under OSA. i think this is a rumor.

so again dato, if you are set to defend btn please enlighten by answering my humble questions above.

my best to u

Suci Dalam Debu 1 December 2009 at 16:00  

Anon 03:00,

History is written by the victors, never the vanquished. Might is also often right.

So Kepulauan Melayu is what Melayu calls it.

I do wonder what the orang Asli calls it?

Have you ever thought of asking the orang Asli themselves whether they regard this land as belonging to them or Melayu?

I have and you will be very surprise with the answers and hope you will not be annoyed.

The white man of Australia uses the same argument as yours in claiming the big southern continent as theirs.

Have a good day :-)

shamshul anuar,  4 December 2009 at 00:09  

Dear anon,

I fail to understand why the fuss over who gets here( in Tanah Melayu, later Malaysia) first.

As far as I know, no Malay has ever denied the existence of Orang asli. Maybe you are, well, sorry to say come from a different planet.

But the Malays are the first to set a system of governance here. And the world recognises it. From as as early as any historian can point it out, all treaties, agreement or even trade or ultimatum in war had been done with Malay rulers.

No other people can sign treatiers on behalf of the land. Such principle is a recognition itself.

Hence, the word "Tanah melayu" was used to mention this land. That is history.

Just because you fail to see that does not mean that the fact change. In more recent times, Malay sultans then were forced to sign ( for agreement) to formation of Malayan union.

Again, their signature is required. Later, on eve of Independence( to be exact August 5, 1957)the Instrument of Independence was signed by the Malay rulers and Queen Elizabeh( represented by Donald McGilivray) in Kuala lumpur.

As for fuss on BTN, I also attended the course. The facilitators did not incite racial sentiment.

Rather, they told about provisions in constitution. What is so racial about that. Knowing your own Country's constitution is not a manifastation of racism.

As for the song "anak kecil bermain api", I see nothing wrong here. What is so wrong in reminding people the danger of being colonised if we are not careful.

There are ample evidence of people being displaced around the world. Malays have no intention of ending up like Arabs in Palestine.

Please do tell me the example of racism in BTN. Which part of BTN connotes racism?

My neighbour, Dr ridhuan Tee said that he was so upset and hurt when MP from Rasah insulted him by saying his ancestors( Dr Ridhuan's ancestor) are suffering in their graves when he converts to Islam.

And who can forget how ADUN Skudai said that Malaysia practises apartheid.

Racism is alive. DAP is known for that. It is their "forte".

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