I am quite reluctant to write this piece as it involves unnecessary childish behaviour from a senior minister of Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak’s cabinet.
The minister, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz went crazy all of a sudden after Tun Dr Mahathir gave a statement after being asked by a journalist about Biro Tata Negara course.
Lets talk what really happened.
The opposition, who often oppose just for the sake of opposing anything under the government’s sun, had criticised BTN as a propaganda machine of the federal government. This led the Pakatan Rakyat’s state government of Selangor to bar all its civil servants to attend BTN courses.
They claimed it incites hatred towards the opposition and above all, it is filled with some Ketuanan Melayu brainwash (why,what else can they say but this?)
Suddenly without any provocation, Nazri a prisoner of some ‘siege’, claimed that yes, BTN do need revamping.
But his peers is stating otherwise. Ahmad Maslan, the Deputy Minister in the PM’s Department claimed that there will only be upgrades to suit the 1Malaysia concept.
Even the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended BTN courses. The issue would have been resolved with Nazri Aziz being asked to keep his thoughts to himself and not poke his bald head onto other people’s affairs.
But matters became complex when an elder statesman was asked about his own opinion.
Last weekend, at a function, Tun Dr Mahathir was asked by journalists about the possible revamp/upgrade of BTN courses, and of course, explaining things from his experience and point of view, he stated that these courses should be retained.
Summarily, he said:
The former prime minister was also of the opinion that the BTN curriculum had helped foster unity as the courses conducted by the agency were attended by Malaysians of all races.
“No need to revamp…I think it is better to retain the modules,” he told reporters after opening the World Aids Day 2009 here today.
Commenting further, Dr Mahathir said he too had given talks at courses organised by the BTN and among the subjects touched on were Malaysian history.
“Sometimes, people cannot understand the underlying value of BTN courses. I do not see anything bad about it, it explains the nation’s history,” he said.
His remarks jived with the other current leaders in Barisan Nasional – Ahmad Maslan, the deputy minister directly responsible for BTN and with the Deputy Prime Minister.
Then how come, just because of this statement from Tun, Nazri barked out unprovoked and uncouth comments regarding Tun and labeled him as racist? Which part of Tun’s statement above is deemed racist?
Nazri’s tantrum sounded like this:
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has called Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad a “bloody racist” for defending the Biro Tata Negara (BTN) courses, and reasserted the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme.
Nazri pointed out to reporters in Parliament today that patriotism was not meant only for the Malays but for all Malaysians.
“You must be a Malaysian whether you’re a minister or not. You must walk your talk. Don’t just because when you were PM, you wanted everyone to support you, you’re Malaysian and the moment you’re no longer PM, that’s it, only talk about the Malays so I cannot accept his comment. When you read his blog it is bloody racist.
“I strongly feel the BTN courses must be in line with the 1 Malaysia slogan by the PM,” he said.
Again, which part of Tun’s statement about BTN earlier that made Nazri hopping mad? It was not insidious and certainly not racist in nature. Tun did not even solely talking about the Malays! And to be sure, Tun was not even ridiculing Nazri for his call to revamp BTN.
Why didn’t Nazri launch an attack to Ahmad Maslan and his number 2 boss as well?
Can they be labeled as bloody racist as well for saying that there will only be an upgrade for BTN?
Mind you, Tun was merely stating his opinion on what he knew BTN during his years in the government. Whatever the grievances people might have about BTN happens only recently.
The blogger Hantu Laut put it succinctly in his latest article.
I believe Nazri Aziz was just trying to gain some mileage in the possible cabinet reshuffle. After all, after more than 6 months down the road from the last cabinet announcement, what kind of value-add has Nazri provided to the government?
What are the things that no other people can perform better than him? Is he an asset to this Kerajaan Untuk Rakyat, or is he a liability?
In April this year, after hearing the new cabinet line-up, I wrote:
When hearing the announcement, among my first reaction was; are there no other parliamentarians more proficient in Malaysian laws than Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz? Nazri should know that he is very lucky to be reappointed into the cabinet this time around. But I guess, his service is still needed in Parliament. However, I will shudder if he still persist in being too gung-ho in his approach towards any sensitive issues in the future.
Nazri must know that being a hatchet-man to the PM will not work this time around. Najib Tun Razak does not need to defend himself against Tun Mahathir in the first place. This particular episode revealed how erratic Nazri is. The old statesman was not even taking a swipe at the government. In fact, he was defending Barisan Nasional.
Why make a mess when you don’t need one?
Noticeably, all the opposition jumped the bandwagon and glorified Nazri for his outbursts. How bizzare! Nazri, the Pakatan hero? Well maybe he is vying for a cabinet post IF Anwar Ibrahim wins the next general election. Amacam Kit Siang, can Nazri be the Home Minister then? You can have Nazri, his childish tantrums and his IQ all to yourself.
In my opinion with regards to the BTN itself, it is a matter of execution and implementation that needs to be upgraded and streamlined. Maybe there were certain cases of overzealous officials within the BTN that had used extreme approach to instil patriotism. Again, it’s a matter of execution. Not the ideology itself.
The courses need to be properly conducted so that each participant may get the same level of motivation and patriotism which is in line with the original goals of BTN. The trainers need to be more dynamic and cognizant to his audience.
Nazri himself need to attend a refresher course in BTN. I hope they will teach him some manners as well.