Thursday, December 17, 2009

I read articles and articles decrying BTN. Destroying the reputation of BTN or the National Civic Bureau is not my cup of tea. BTN was set up after 1969 racial riots. Yes, it was a propaganda tool, but it was more than that. It was invented so that the races in Malaysia know the history of the country. It was not meant to brainwash but more to educate. It was meant as a tool for the ruling government to explain her policies and made it more palatable to the rakyat. It is where the government could have a sample of the population thoughts and ideas especially her government employees. It was also meant so that chosen students of higher learning which have been identified understand the vision of the government of the day. It was a noble cause sadly like all noble acts it has been hijack and abuse by those in power.

BTN was the brainchild of Tan Sri Ghazalie Shafie, the doyen and architect of foreign policy for Malaysia and a master of psychological warfare which he horn in force 136. It was not meant to be permanent but temporal that is until the threat to the well being of the nation has been eliminated. It was not just about ketuanan Melayu but it was more to educate not indoctrinate the masses, the unique way Malaysia achieve independence. Ketuanan Melayu is just that a rallying call which is hollow. How are you a Tuan or master when your share of the economic pie was just 2.4% of wealth of the country vis a vis your population of 60% (in 1969). It was meant to make sure that the races understand the sacrifices of the Malays in giving the other races citizenship for before 1957, all the other races were British subject, while the Malays were the subject of the respective Sultan where they reside. And remember we were never colony of the British but British protectorate. In all respect we were sovereign but in truth we were under the British.

The Malays know we could not achieve our independence if we do not accept the other races so we made a pact, an understanding between the elders. It was a gentlemen agreement nothing else. It was not set in stone and never meant to be in perpetuity, it will be dismantle when we are ready but are we?

I never think we are. We are fooling ourselves if we think we are. As long as people fight for one race, one own education system, one own language how then can we say we are ready? When the British and later under Razak report recommended one education system the non Malays bark. How then can we create one Malaysia for even then we keep asking to keep our own language and education system. It is a fact that cannot be disputed that school of one race will be the hotbed for extremism. The communist started in Chinese school and the precursor of CPM was Nanyang Communist party or South Sea establish in 1925-28. Later Hoh Chin Minh would reorganize it to Communist Party of Malaya in 1930 in Kuala Pilah. The idea of the reorganization is to attract the Malays which was non existence in the party.

What about the Muslim extremist which proliferated in sekolah pondok? Shouldn’t this school be control and cease to exist? Yes, they should but because lack of willpower all these school, Chinese and Muslims exist. In many articles in the blogsphere everybody denounce the Chinese and Indian type national school but non touch on the independent Islamic school that exist outside the satu aliran satu bangsa as advocate by them. Islamic School use Arabic as the medium of instruction but yet Jebat Must Die seem not to take that into account. I wonder why?

We have achieve more than 50 years of independence but we have not been united and sadly although the liberals talk about One Race, deep down they are still divided. I don’t see a problem with the government in favouring the Malays in job placement etc because I know in a level playing field the Malays can’t find jobs in a Chinese own companies or if employed usually at a lower salary scale. People talk about the brain drain that happen after 1969, when many Malaysians mostly the non Malays left for greener pasture overseas. They cited the unfair favouring of the Malays but none talk about the brain drain of Penang Malays from Penang since early 70’s to Kuala Lumpur because although Penang than under Chong Eu became the silicon valley of Malaysia, they can’t find employment, I wonder why? Is their qualification not good enough? The non Malays talk about equality but open up the job section, many private firms advertise with the need for Chinese speaking natives, why? The Non Malays say that the vendor programme in Government Linked Companies or GLC favour the Malays and the contract jobs also favour them. But then they forgot to mention that in Companies they owned every vendor created and every contracts favour them. Talk about meritocracy, bull!

Tun Mahathir says it well behind every contractor there lies the non Malays, indirectly they benefit because the suppliers are mostly them so what is wrong? Yes, the price is higher and it is inefficient but then efficiency is not what we should strive for but a level playing field. Malays sadly needs that crutch, it will able for them hopefully to learn so one day they can compete. Equality without economic freedom is not equality. It cannot exist just by slogans and rhetoric it need substance which economic freedom allows. Most Malay bloggers fail to see that, they forget that if not for the crutch given they could not sit down and wrote those things. That ability for them to write was given from the policy which now you decried as unfair. Their forefathers were poor, they own only 2.4% of the wealth so do not forget that!

These wealth imbalances are like a cauldron that is bursting at the seam. The hindraf riots occur because of economic factors. The Indians from the nearby estate whose estate has been earmark for development feel lose. The Indian cake whose people constitute only 8% of the nation holds 1.5% of the wealth (1969) has seen it go down to 1%. Why?, you ask their leader, I have no answer for that. All I can tell you the disparity among the rich Indians and poor are huge. This is the malady that affects the Malays. Although collectively they have manage to expand their wealth but the benefit is not spread.

So is BTN bad, nope, it just a disease that need to be cured. It must change the module to reflect the time we live in. Now many Malays are more astute and many non Malays would not accept things as their fathers did. A revamp is needed because it is where the government can understand the fears and hopes of her citizens. It should not be hijack by right handed jocks of the Malays or the left wings, it must be neutral. It must desist in indoctrination but more in forging ideas and encouraging them. It is time now to start building the idea of Malaysian for Malaysia.

For the non Malays I want them to look at themselves first before frothing out their ideas. Are they willing to forego age old prejudices? Are they willing to share their economic pie? We need baby steps and each step we make hopefully our children can make much more bigger steps till then live in peace and harmony. I remember the words of Robert Kennedy when he gave his rainbow speech

"we breath the same air we share the same space” Yes it is time to let our prejudices go. I am a rascist I am proud of it but I am not a chauvinist and never will be! I do not want to see my race be like Singapore as this article clearly shows!

Dr M transformed BTN to a super-racist agency, says former director

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Former National Civics Bureau (BTN) director now turn PKR leader Datuk Johari Abdul (picture) claimed that it was Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who made the body a full-fledged racist indoctrination agency, contradicting the former premier who has gone all-out to defend BTN and deny that the body was used by Umno to sow racial hatred.
Speaking at a forum organised by PKR tonight, Johari claimed that prior to Dr Mahathir’s ascendancy as the prime minister, the body, not yet called the BTN, was initially used to counter the influence of anti-establishment Islamic movements in universities in the 1970s.
At the time, the body was headed by another former prime minister, Dr Mahathir’s arch-rival, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. He was not yet a politician at the time but a government officer.
“And when Abdullah became a full time politician, the body officially became BTN and its purpose was to raise the confidence of Malay students who were doing badly academically by instilling ideas like ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy),” said Johari who is also MP for Sungai Petani.
But when Dr Mahathir became prime minister, Johari said the former premier, whom he described as a “shrewd politician”, made full use of the BTN and turned it into a complete Umno-Barisan Nasional (BN) indoctrination machinery to maintain Malay loyalty to the status quo.
“One of the courses (under him) was that the Malay participants were taught to defend the Umno-BN government at all cost. If the Umno-BN government falls, than the Malays are made to think that the Malays would be enslaved in their own country.”
“And then it got worse when (PKR de facto leader) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was sacked by Dr Mahathir after a fall-out in 1998 and the BTN was then used to demonise all opposition leaders,” he added.
The PKR leader claimed he was speaking from personal experience as a former director of the agency.
And being a former director and also an Umno man, Johari admitted that he too at one point believed in the teachings of the BTN, and its supposed objective to help the Malays but has since “repented.”
“You know within your conscience that there is something wrong is wrong,” he said.
Johari said however that to be fair there was nothing wrong with the agency itself but that it was the syllabus that needed a revamp. He also said that Umno, as a political entity, has the right to do its best to edge out its political rivals.
“But don’t use taxpayers money for that. Finance your own programme,” he said.
The government had allocated RM64 million under the 2010 Federal Budget for BTN and the opposition is currently doing its best in Parliament to get BTN closed.
So far, some influential Umno leaders like Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, and Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, have joined in the rising chorus against the agency.
Nazri had also blasted Dr Mahathir as a racist for defending BTN while Razaleigh claimed he too was a victim of the programme when he went against the former premier in the late 1980s.
But the hawks in Umno, through its newspapers like Berita Harian and Utusan Malaysia, have come out to defend BTN and blast its critics as attempting to politicise the issue.

Dr M challenges Nazri to quit ‘racist’ Umno

“Umno is racist, only for Malays,” says Mahathir. — file pic

By Neville Spykerman
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — 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.
Yesterday Nazri called Dr Mahathir a “bloody racist” for defending BTN courses while reasserting the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme in line with the policy of 1 Malaysia mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Nazri says I am a racist, he cannot deny he is not because he knows everything very well,” said Dr Mahathir.
“He belongs to a party that is racist because Umno is meant only for Malays, no one else can join. But he is against racism, so he should resign from the party.”
Nazri yesterday said Dr Mathathir’s postings in his blog were also racist and contrary to his own stand when he was the prime minister.
“When he was prime minister he wanted everyone to support him but now he only talks about the Malays, so I cannot accept his comments,” Nazri had said yesterday.
Dr Mahathir had defended BTN’s training modules and described them as suitable for instilling patriotism in Malaysians.
BTN came under public scrutiny recently, after Pakatan Rakyat-ruled Selangor prohibited state civil servants and students of higher educational institutions owned by the state from attending its courses, claiming that they were an indoctrination process by the Barisan Nasional government and aimed at brainwashing Malaysians into hate opposition parties.
PR leaders and former participants have also claimed that the courses were racist and emphasised the idea of Malay superiority.

Nazri finds another backer in tiff with Dr M

By G Manimaran

Koh (right) says Najib’s 1 Malaysia has no room for racism. — file pic

PETALING JAYA, Dec 8 — Gerakan President Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon has supported Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz’s stand that the National Civics Bureau (BTN) should be revamped to be in accordance with the spirit and principles of 1 Malaysia.
Koh who is also the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Unity and Performance Management, came forward to defend his colleague Nazri.
“The prime minister is aware and this (revamps) was discussed,” he said.
Koh said the thrust of 1 Malaysia as enunciated by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak encompasses acceptance and appreciation of diversity.
“The principle of nationhood according to our constitution and Rukun Negara, as well as justice and fairness for all.
“As 1 Malaysia is clearly all-inclusive, there is no room for any form of racism, extremism and hatred,” said Koh in a statement released today.
He added this principle should be the basis for the training programme to guide the attitude and behaviour of all members of the civil service and university students.
Surprised by the remarks from the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Koh said that the former prime minister may not be aware of the latest slant in the BTN courses.
Koh himself participated in one such course with other political and corporate leaders in the mid-90s, presided personally by Dr Mahathir.
“The content of the courses emphasised on unity and understanding as well as the need to handle all issues with great care and sensitivity.
“However, recent feedback from participants since last year showed that the BTN course has diverted from its earlier version.
“Participants, including JPA scholars, felt very upset and disheartened,” he said and added that the need to revamp is based on such feedback.
The BTN runs compulsory courses for civil servants and undergraduates and has been accused of promoting hatred and racism by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders.
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.
On Sunday Mingguan Malaysia urged the government not to “bow down” to the opposition on BTN.
Nazri had said that BTN training modules would be revamped to better reflect the 1 Malaysia concept introduced by Najib.
However, Dr Mahathir has been defending the BTN courses, saying that the criticism against them has been exaggerated.

I Do Not Want the Malays To Be Like These

Wake-up call for Malay community in Singapore

Singapore’s Malay community needs to address its problems with broken homes. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Dec 7 — After he went missing for a week, a six-year-old Malay boy was found dead last month. A family friend who ferried him to and from school has since been charged with murder.

This tragedy and a few others involving young Malay children from broken homes so distress Minister in Charge of Muslim Affairs Yaacob Ibrahim that over the weekend, he cried out to his community to “be worried”.

“My worry is, I don’t see a sense of urgency in the community about this problem,” he said in a candid interview, during which he openly declared that he was embarrassed, even “malu” (ashamed), by the reports of Malay men involved in such heinous crimes

His despair is almost palpable as he described how these tragedies are symptomatic of a deeper sociological problem and spells out the dangers of ignoring this long-standing problem of broken homes in the Malay community, saying it will lead to an underclass.

“Once it emerges... you can never remove it,” he warned, as he expressed his fear of the situation deteriorating and going the way of the blacks and Hispanics in the United States.

He said this in an interview with Malay daily Berita Harian following a meeting with 80 young Malay-Muslim professionals on Saturday to brainstorm ideas to tackle problems facing the community.

Dr Yaacob, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, made it plain he did not have all the answers.

Highlighting another problem, the declining pass rate of Malay students in mathematics at PSLE level, he said: “I go back to the traditional method (of solving the problem) — give more tuition, give more workbook, and so on. Maybe there is something else. I don’t know.”

The pass rate has slipped in the last three years to 56 per cent now, against the national average of 90 per cent.

But it is the problem of dysfunctional families that worries him most. Often, in such families, one parent is missing or in jail, and teens get pregnant out of wedlock and marry early, if at all.

Though they are in the minority, their problems are complex and intractable.

However, he does not view their behaviour as a lack of morality, saying it is a sociological phenomenon.

“The problem is deeper... My take is this group of people do not live by our standards. They have opted out and have their own cultural understanding, where staying together with a non-married partner is accepted.” This is not Malay culture, this is a subculture, he added.

He fears that should it become rooted, it would go the way of black and Hispanic Americans, where many girls get pregnant to get out of poverty because the state would then take care of them.

He senses it is already happening here and self-help group Mendaki is now doing a study of the issue.

Meanwhile, he made a plea to better-off Malay-Muslims not to turn their backs on these families but “make it their mission in life to think about it, to write about it and explore solutions”.

He added: “We must be worried about this problem, and everyone in the community must be thinking of this problem. I believe it can be tackled but we have to put our minds together.”

Three factors give him optimism: A growing Malay middle class with varied expertise, years of experience in dealing with such social challenges, and that Singapore provides equal opportunity for all.

But should the Malay-Muslim elite shrug off this group, a concern he had raised at a Hari Raya dinner two months ago, the outcome is scary, he said, as the community’s best minds, who have the resources, would not be available to help their own.

Youth worker Irwan Sahrul, 34, shares his worry about the professionals. The executive director of Malay-Muslim welfare organisation Clubilya, which helps youths in trouble, feels more of them should engage such youths in their own neighbourhood and make them feel part of the community.

“They can be mentors, especially if they, too, have a similar family background,” he added.

Association of Muslim Professionals’ chairman Nizam Ismail, 42, believes dysfunctional families will be a very significant national problem as Singapore becomes more competitive.

So, he feels the country needs to review the present approach of relying on community-based welfare groups to help sort out the problem. He said: “The issue should be looked at as a national rather than a community problem. You need national resources and government-led intervention.” — The Straits Times

But Yet I take note of this blunder by UMNO

Umno lifts suspension of Penang’s Ahmad Ismail

By G. Manimaran and Adib Zalkapli
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Controversial Penang Umno warlord Datuk Ahmad Ismail, whose membership was suspended for three years last September for uttering a racist remark during a campaign rally, has been reinstated into the party.
Ahmad, who made the remark at a public rally during the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign last year, confirmed the news but said he has yet to be informed officially.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the Umno supreme council decided to end his suspension last Friday as recommended by the party’s management committee.
When contacted, Ahmad told The Malaysian Insider that he was told by his friends on the supreme council that the party leadership had decided to reinstate his membership.
“I was only told by my friends in Majlis Tertinggi (supreme council) that during the Dec 4 meeting, the party decided to accept me back. But no official notification from the party.
“However, I feel grateful and glad that the party’s struggle is back on the normal track. You know, under the party constitution I did not do anything wrong, but I was penalised and accepted that. Now, the party decided to take me back and I feel glad with their decision.
“I would like to express my appreciation to the party president, deputy president for their consideration,” he added.
Ahmad said that the party may have sent him notification, but “I did not go to my office today.”
The lifting of his suspension appears to be a move to appease party members who feel that he should not have been slapped with such a long suspension.
It is not likely to cause any ruffles within Barisan Nasional because the main critics against Ahmad — Gerakan and MCA — are now either on life support or in the throes of infighting.
When contacted, Penang Umno state leaders refused to confirm the news.
Umno executive secretary Datuk Abd Rauf Yusoh, when asked on Ahmad’s status, declined to confirm his reinstatement.
“There has been no official announcement, just wait for the letter,” Rauf told The Malaysian Insider.
Ahmad was suspended from the party following a public outcry after he called the non-Malays “pendatang” (immigrants) during the election campaign, which saw the dramatic return of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to Parliament.
His remark had caused damage to the administration of the then-prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who had lost the support of the non-Malays in Election 2008, just months earlier.
It also led to Penang Umno’s fallout with its leading partner in the state Barisan Nasional (BN), Gerakan.
Meanwhile, Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Abdul Jalil Ariffin said he would find ways to reinstate Ahmad as the division head.
“God willing, we will return the post to him, we will look into the mechanism and also the political situation,” Abdul Jalil told The Malaysian Insider.
Abdul Jalil won the division chief post uncontested at its annual meeting in November last year, two months after Ahmad lost all his party posts following the suspension.
At the division’s first meeting since Ahmad’s suspension, he was given a warrior’s welcome by the Bukit Bendera Umno delegates.
He was also presented with a keris and proclaimed the “Bukit Bendera Warrior”.



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