‘Slit-eyed’ remark: Scrap BTN, Mahfuz tells govt

By Harakah Daily

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30: PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar has urged the government to scrap the controversial National Civics Bureau (BTN) programmes as they had been proven to be a platform to fan racism in the country.

“The time has come for the government to scrap the BTN, and not reform it.

“The agency had been abused to fan racial sentiments in the country, and this is not new as it has been doing so since its establishment,” said Mahfuz, in response to racist remarks uttered by BTN’s deputy director Hamim Husain recently.

Referring to the Chinese and Indian communities, Hamim described them “Si Mata Sepet” (slit-eyed) and “Si Botol” (drunkard) during a gathering with Puteri UMNO members.

“The ‘si mata sepet’ that has never gone to a mosque or surau only has one vote. The ‘si botol’ that only knows how to go up to Batu Caves up and down only has one vote,” he reportedly said when explaining UMNO’s wisdom behind power-sharing with different races.

Mahfuz (right) said the BTN, set up in 1974, was no longer needed as it had clearly failed to achieve its vision of instilling patriotism and good character.

“The BTN is aimed at inciting Malay sentiments just like UMNO and this clearly contradicts  and deviates from the original motives of Rukun Negara, which is to foster unity among the races in our country,” he said, adding that prime minister Najib Razak must take responsibility for the racist remarks as the bureau came under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Department.

The bureau has been fraught with controversy over the years, with participants claiming to have encountered racially-toned speeches by UMNO politicians.

Last December, amid public outrage over the bureau’s continued racist orientation, deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Ahmad Maslan announced a revision of its courses in order to allign them with Najib’s 1Malaysia battlecry.

“We will ensure that the BTN courses also inculcate the 1Malaysia concept and its eight values, namely high performance culture, accuracy, knowledge, innovation, integrity, strong will, loyalty and wisdom,” he was quoted as saying.