PUTRAJAYA, Dec 4 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin finally acknowledged today that the Cabinet had directed a revamp of the controversial Biro Tata Negara (BTN) course.
The BTN courses have been heavily criticised by Pakatan Rakyat as well as the public for being divisive and racist.
But Muhyiddin and other hawkish Umno leaders have been defending the courses, by claiming there was nothing wrong with it.
His defence of the courses, which are compulsory for civil servants and public university undergraduates, came despite the earlier Cabinet decision.
Today he acknowledged the Cabinet decision.
“The revamping of BTN by the Cabinet is not new. It is something which has been decided on by the Cabinet a long time back.
“Datuk Ahmad Maslan has already made an official statement regarding this, I do not need to explain further,” said Muhyiddin, referring to the Umno Information chief who is also a deputy minister in charge of BTN.
Ahmad had come out defending BTN against allegations by the opposition that it was teaching racial hatred.
He had also asserted that the Cabinet was not revamping the programme, but merely “upgrading” it, which meant that the existing module was problem-free.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, on the other hand has insisted that the Cabinet wants to overhaul the Biro Tata Negara (BTN), while also admitting the programme had been used to promote certain government leaders.
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”.