Disember 9, 2009 oleh ruslyislam
By Adib Zalkapli
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 – One of Umno’s most respected leaders,Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, has come out to back the closure of the Biro Tata Negara (BTN), saying he was a victim of its controversial courses when he led an opposition front.
“Yes I have heard, I have been battered about in seminars, discussions in BTN,” the Gua Musang MP said when asked if he had been a victim of BTN.
“They said a lot of things,” he replied when asked to elaborate on the nature of the attacks against him.
The Kelantanese prince was also a victim of a hate campaign during Election 1990, when a photograph of him wearing an East Malaysian headgear was widely distributed just days before polls.
The photograph of Razaleigh in the headgear, which bore a motif similar to a crucifix, is credited with turning away significant numbers of Muslim votes from Semangat 46, which he led.
The BTN, under the Prime Minister’s Department, runs compulsory courses for civil servants and undergraduates and has been accused of promoting hatred and racism by Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders.
“I think BTN should close down. It has been used to promote personality cults and also used for badgering people who oppose the leadership,” he told reporters after delivering his speech at the United Nations Human Rights Day here.
“It’s a waste of money,” said the Gua Musang Umno chief.
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 Utusan urged the government not to “bow down” to the opposition on BTN.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz had said that BTN training modules would be revamped to better reflect the 1 Malaysia concept introduced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
However former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been defending the BTN courses and saying that the criticism against it has been exaggerated.