If UMNO had been racist, why are Chinese are more wealthy and dominating the economy? A racist UMNO would have denied the Chinese of economic opportunity and dominated it for the Malays only. But, the Malay's corporate wealth is still below 20% and retail wealth at much lower.
During UMNO's leadership in the past 40 years (since May 13 1969 incident), the country has been peaceful and free from racially charged issues for the last 40 years.
Racial and religous issues were well contained until the last 2-4 years where opposition grew brave and bold to raise racially and religously charged issues with abundant. Who is racist then?
Although unfairly and rudely attacked as racist by Dato Nazri Aziz who of late seemed to be an opposition apologist or perhaps is a closet opposition, there is much truth in Tun Dr Mahathir's view that the BTN syllabus be maintained.
The policy and role of BTN was clearly for nation building despite having different unique program approaches for different profile of attendees.
There was nothing racist about BTN courses except for the problems with overzealous facilitators. This is clearly explained by Deputy Minister and UMNO Information Chief, Dato Ahmad Maslan in today's NST report.
Overzealous lecturers blamed for BTN grousesThis is a long overdue explanation from BTN.
Chai Mei Ling, NST 2009/12/20
KUALA LUMPUR: Overzealous trainers and rebellious participants are to be blamed for the problems surrounding the National Civics Bureau (BTN) courses, said its chief, Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
Dismissing allegations that its courses bred racism, he cited “human nature” as the reason for the discontentment among a handful of former participants.
In maintaining that the syllabus was sound and grounded in values and historical facts, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said criticisms could have been sparked not by the course module but by human factors.
“Any individual with a rebellious streak, who’s not used to life in the camp like sleeping in a dormitory, bathing from the kolah (water tank) and washing their own dishes, is not going to like the course," he said.
"Those forced to attend the course by their superiors will write that the course is useless. Of every 100 participants, a few are bound to be difficult. That's human nature."
Criticisms, he said, could also come from participants who were children of opposition members who thought that the government initiative was a form of indoctrination.
Ahmad, who is Umno information chief, did not rule out the possibility that a "slip of the tongue" by some facilitators could have left certain quarters disgruntled.
"Maybe some facilitators terlepas cakap (slip of the tongue). We have 1,500 trainers, facilitators and speakers, how do I control each and every one of them?
If they wanted to say certain things -- just one minute out of the five-day course -- that's a small matter. It's not in the curriculum."
The trainers are teachers and university lecturers who have attended the department's special courses.
Since 1974, the BTN course, delivered through camps and seminars spanning four to five days, was aimed at raising people's commitment to national aspirations and development.
Target groups include members of educational institutions, civil servants, university students, non-governmental organisations and local leaders.
Its module, a summary of which is accessible from the bureau's website, covers five major themes outlining the country's historical journey, governance, promoting the inculcation of good values, self development and physical education.
Ahmad said the module would undergo improvements from time to time and was amended to keep it in line with the country's vision, although its core topics -- patriotism and good values -- remained unchanged.
On whether the bureau would review its trainer selection process or look into the way facilitators conducte courses as a measure to prevent future slip-ups, Ahmad said he would meet all 1,500 trainers next month to explain in detail the 1Malaysia concept.
"We'll remind them to intensify the incorporation of the 1Malaysia concept into the syllabus. Eight aspirations of the concept -- high performance culture, precision culture, knowledge culture, innovation culture, integrity, resilience, loyalty and wisdom -- are being added."
A large part of the course took the form of experiential learning, Ahmad said.
Participants, when made to move in mixed groups, learn about teamwork. The spirit of togetherness is instilled when they share dorms, dining areas and communal bathrooms.
Inculcation of patriotism comes through the singing of the national anthem and patriotic songs. Jungle trekking and night walks build up courage, strength, resilience and cooperation.
Tasks like washing dishes are aimed at instilling responsibility and humility.
"Other tasks, like entrusting participants with the caring of eggs, are to remind them of the fragility of the country's multiracial make-up and the efforts needed to protect it.
"At the end of the sessions, attendees fill in forms to evaluate all aspects of the course.
"There's nothing in the syllabus that is racially divisive. It's Kem Bina Negara -- we want to put it in the participants' head that we have to build this nation together.
"Racism is musnah negara (racism wrecks the nation)."
Ahmad said detractors formed a small percentage of the total of 1.5 million participants who had undergone the course in the past three years.
"With 1.5 million people having gone through the course, if there were elements of racism in it, the country would have been in chaos.
"Even if you say it's a political strategy, we're not that stupid (to put in anything offensive to other races). It's a very, very wrong strategy. We need the support of all races. I don't see why BTN has to be feared."
Nazri who is more keen in giving opposition speak on BTN but suppressed UMNO people comment speak on BTN, could have help mitigate the perception problem created by opposition?
Which political party is this regular non-attendee of UMNO Supreme Council meeting with?
On PKR's name smearing plan, Anwar and his PKR and DAP conspirators had planned to extend painting the same racial brush stroke on the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for defending BTN.
This is a similar strategy they used to tarnish the then Deputy Prime Minister, Dato Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, with yet to be proven and substantiated accusation of involvement in the murder of Mongolian Altantunya.
If Nazri had not arrogantly snapped at Ahmad earlier for correcting his wrong usage of term in his statement that the cabinet had agreed to up-grade instead of revamp the BTN curriculum, the ploy by PKR could have been diverted.
The video tape on Anwar and Khalid Ibrahim at a BTN course would have exposed them as those were overzealous culprit and hypocrites.
Anwar was instrumental, when he was the Deputy Prime Minister, for abusing BTN to achieve his personal political pursuit to unseat the then Deputy Prime Minister, the late Tun Ghaffar Baba.
He had removed the existing heads in BTN and placed with his own lackey - Idris Jauzi as Director General and Dr Hasan Ali as Deputy. Ahmad Maslan can disclose further on this.
Frankly, the 'real issue' of BTN is it's abuse by those in charge for their own personal political agenda. It started after BTN came under the charge of Tun Musa Hitam and for a time by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
To correct the perception that BTN was an instrument in sustaining the unclear concept of "Ketuanan Melayu", the abuse by such leaders have actually led to the split among Malays. Few BTN operatives were instrumental in causing severe split among PAS and UMNO Malays and were catalyst or batu api in the factional fight within UMNO.
BTN's objective, role and modus operandi need to reviewed but it is unfair to smear the institution as racist.
And some heads which shouldn't be extended from retirement for being supportive of the past leadership that lead to the current predicament of the national leadership. Why are these opportunists still around?
- This blogger defended BTN but never attended and rejected several invitations to attend BTN courses. As a patriotic person, it is an insult to attend courses on patriotism. For a lomng period of time, he has taken a strong position that BTN approach and method were archaic and is long overdue for review and upgrade. If they had been more sensitive and receptive, BTN would have avoided the current predicament. He has on many occasion relayed to BTN the negative comments of their overzealous facilitators.