Duty to right the wrongs done by BTN

I REFER to On The Beat’s out-of-the box and excellent article “Pretty hate Machine” (Sunday Star, May 27).

There was indeed a big elephant in the room and our previous governments refused to see it! This elephant is the National Civics Bureau or Biro Tatanegara (BTN), which allegedly promotes racial and religious hatred through its courses for senior civil servants, ironically in its mission to nurture patriotism!

In fact, almost all of our previous national governments and even state leaders condoned its poisonous philosophy and preaching, according to many officials and others in the know. But there was no transparency and it was all under wraps and surreptitiously hidden under the carpet.

Apparently, BTN has been very active since the early 1980s. It has been encouraged by most of our leaders to expand its nefarious activities with a current budget of over RM1bil per annum! No wonder our budget is under severe strain!

The government now has the duty to explain to the public why its leaders condoned the preaching and promoting of racial and religious polarisation all these years.

We “New Malaysians” now not only insist on a full explanation as to whether these allegations against the BTN are true but also demand that, if the allegations are justified, there should be admissions of and confessions for the grievous mistakes made in the past.

Then assurances and even guarantees must be made to us New Malaysians that all governments at federal and state levels will not repeat the past poisonous policies that have eroded the quality of the civil service and reduced confidence in the government.

This possible lack of public confidence could adversely affect our hopes in the Pakatan Harapan government and our future as well. The continued existence of BTN in its present form will severely wound, if not kill, all our hopes and our faith in the future prospects of our beloved country and our precious posterity.

All right-thinking New Malaysians and voters must now appeal to our new government to right the wrongs of the past and to completely overhaul the BTN or, better still, scrap it altogether.

Alternately, public servants can be taught patriotism and helped to improve their loyalty and service to God, King, country and society at well- established training institutions like the National Institute of Public Administration (Intan) and the Razak School of Government.

Equally important, we will be able to stop the rot and save at least RM1bil every year and use the funds to alleviate the sufferings of the poor regardless of race or religion.

We appeal for justice and fairness from the new government, which, we hope and pray, will promote national unity and fight polarisation.

Article published in The Star.

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