KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 – Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz insisted today that the Cabinet wants to overhaul the Biro Tata Negara (BTN), while also admitting the programme had been used to promote certain government leaders.
His remarks come just a few hours after a fellow Umno government leader defended the civics course and insisted it would be “upgraded” instead of “revamped.”
“Whatever word you use, upgrade or revamp … to me, it is a change of module. Datuk Ahmad Maslan is a member of the Cabinet, he can’t dispute my statement,” he told reporters at Parliament lobby here.
Ahmad, who is deputy minister in the prime minister department, came out defending BTN today against allegations by the opposition that its courses were teaching racial hatred.
He claimed the courses would only be “upgraded”, which means that there is nothing wrong with the modules.
The deputy minister, who is in charge of BTN, claimed that the “upgrade” would incorporate new elements in its lectures to reflect the 1Malaysia idea meant to promote racial unity coined by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
But Nazri said there was no use in Ahmad or other government ministers denying the Cabinet decision.
Ahmad was the second Umno minister to come out in defence of BTN despite the revelation by Nazri that the Cabinet conceded that its courses were racially divisive.
The first was Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin, who took a similarly defensive stand and publicly stated his views on the issue just hours after Nazri made the disclosure on Monday.
No matter how much leaders tried to deny it, Nazri said, there were “other” former government leaders who are now a part of the opposition vanguards, like PKR de facto Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who know of its contents.
“They know, so what is there to deny,” he said. “What I am saying now is that we are revamping BTN by changing it, which we have decided in the Cabinet meeting so that it is consonant with a 1 Malaysia as wanted by the prime minister.”
Nazri also admitted that BTN was used as a tool to promote certain leaders within the government, which was one of the points used by opposition leaders to demand BTN’s closure.
The minister said BTN was also used as a programme to “instill confidence among the Malays” in the early days of its establishment but stressed that times have changed and “so must BTN”.