What does RM1.1b worth of BTN hate get you? - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Tuesday, July 03, 2018
Malaysiakini : “When we don't know who to hate, we hate ourselves.” - Chuck Palahniuk, ‘Invisible Monsters’
COMMENT | Okay, I will admit to
being pretty bummed out that the Department of Islamic Development
(Jakim) was not axed. I mean think of all the money we would save and
there would be less of a need for kids to break open their piggy banks. But sure, I get it. It would look bad for the new administration if a
federal religious authority was axed. As it is, the Malay far-right
crowd are claiming that this new administration would destroy ‘bangsa’
(race) and ‘agama’ (religion) and culling this particular body would
reinforce this perception.
But seriously, the Biro Tatanegara (BTN), spared? When the Selangor
and Penang state governments banned their students and civil servants
from attending these courses, it seemed as if political operatives
finally got it. Even Kelantan jumped
on the bandwagon, stating that they would not send their people for
these brainwashing initiatives unless the BTN “curriculum was not
changed in accordance with Islam.” So maybe PAS only got half of it.
Where did I get that RM1.1 billion figure? Well, Wong Chun Wai wrote a pretty good piece for The Star – Pretty hate machine
– which neatly defined the problem with the BTN courses. And he should
know, right? I’m kidding, Wong, it’s the new Malaysia so everyone has
got a say. But seriously folks, people have heard stories about the BTN
courses. There were testimonials of the kind of horse manure that goes
Has anyone really visited their official website?
I do, pretty often. The images there serve a purpose. Loads of images
of Malay civil servants and the activities that BTN carries out. This
provides a narrative that the dominant Malay majority are the ones who
actually serve the state, serve the country and in essence, serve the
political party - Umno - that supposedly serves the Malay community.
This is a powerful narrative captured in images and it is amplified
when minions of Umno used to claim that it is the non-Malays who are not
patriotic, it is the non-Malays’ religions which threatens Islam.
Some would argue that there are a few bad apples in the organisation,
so get rid of them. Well in Wong’s article, he quotes former minister
in the Prime Minister’s Department, Nazri Abdul Aziz, who in 2009 pushed
back on the horse manure in Parliament that the work of a few bad
apples sullied the programme - “Don’t think that people outside do not
know about the syllabus based on patriotism for Malays. They know what
the syllabus is all about, so who are we to say that it did not happen?
You want to lie? You make people laugh.
“I mean, there are people who attended the courses who came out very
angry. There were many instances of the use of words like Ketuanan
Melayu. It is ridiculous. Do they want to say that Malaysia belongs only
to the Malays and the government is only a Malay government? Should
only the Malays be given the spirit of patriotism? Other races are not
patriotic about their country?”
Okay, you may say, fine, reform BTN. Sounds simple, right? Has anyone
stopped to think, why this organisation is needed? Forget about what it
is costing taxpayers but why would there ever need to be a government
agency instilling “patriotism” in the civil service and students? Why
would the state need to do this except to ensure that people are
brainwashed into voting for them?
No more propaganda, please
Is the new BTN going to be about the Bangsa Malaysia Kool-Aid? Is the
new BTN going to be about how there are no race and class divisions in
this country and how everyone has to “save Malaysia”?
Think about that. Think about how this current government is
desperately attempting to assure the “Malays” that they would be taken
care of and that they have nothing to fear from non-Malay political
structures. This kind of thinking is because of the BTN and other
propaganda arms like it.
Remember that MCA and MIC and all those other BN, non-Malay power
structures turned a blind eye to the brainwashing and hate speech coming
from BTN and just assumed that all this was part of the social contract
and the means to ensure compliance in the Malay community. Do
non-Malays want they, ‘new Malaysia’ non-Malays representatives, to
follow the same kind of thinking?
So, what does RM1.1 billion – over the years – get you? For the
Malays, it is - “The Chinese are rich”, “don’t spook the Malays”,
“liberalism is a threat to Islam”, and the rest of the propaganda that
defined Umno dogma. What did it get the non-Malays? Every time as a
non-Malay, you have to worry about not rocking the Malay vote - the
tendrils of the courses of BTN touched you even though you may not have
attended any of its “courses”.
Every time you hurl some invective against the system anonymously
online, using racial insults or religious bigotry, it is because of the
boot of Umno dogma you may feel - depending on your economic status - in
the real world. Every time, you have to think not as a community but
rather consider how this plays out in the majority Malay polity, you
have been touched by the BTN courses.
You fear or hate Islam? You cheer when you read articles telling like
it is to the Malay community by other Malays? All this is part of the
propaganda, the culture that is really part of what it means to be a
non-Malay Malaysian and this is the function of the BTN. BTN not only
taught Malays how to hate and who to direct it against, it also taught
the non-Malays how to react.
For years, we voted in successive BN governments and if DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang’s numbers
on the BTN funding is to be believed, the figures have increased. This
would mean that we were literally endorsing the hate coming from this
organisation. Do you really trust this new administration to reform this
institution? Do you really want your tax ringgit spent on an
organisation whose function is to instil a sense of patriotism in the
civil service or students or whoever they target?