By Zurairi AR
Malay Mail Online
June 17, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR, June 17 ― The National Civics Bureau (BTN) is undermining Putrajaya’s effort to promote inclusiveness among races, former ambassador Datuk Noor Farida Ariffin said yesterday after the agency’s slides critical of several groups were leaked online.
Noor Farida also slammed BTN for toeing the line of religious authorities by demonising liberalism and pluralism without explaining why, when such concepts are reflected in the Quran, the Federal Constitution, as well as the Rukunegara.
“There seems to be very little doubt that BTN is an ultra Malay racist agency. How the government can establish an organisation like this and use civil servants and public funds boggles the mind,” said Noor Farida, the spokesman of G25, a group of former Malay high-ranking civil servants.
“Instead of promoting national unity, the BTN is undermining it. Notions like Ketuanan Melayu (Malay Supremacy) appears to be it’s main agenda. Whatever happened to the Ministry of National Unity? It has now been relegated to nothing.”
In one set of slides leaked online, BTN accused members of the G25 of being a product of a “socialist era” through their English-medium education in the 1970s, and blamed it for opening doors for pluralist and liberal movements.
The BTN also disputed claims that the G25 has no political motive through its strongly-worded open letter last year, pointing out to Noor Farida’s role in civil service.
Noor Farida laughed off BTN’s suggestion of a “socialist” influence in the 1970s, admitting that she was astonished that her role representing Malaysia at the International Court of Justice when she served as the ambassador to the Netherlands meant a “political interest”.
“Does this mean that civil servants performing their duties are politicians?” asked Noor Farida, who is also a former Sessions Court judge.
Noor Farida also claimed that BTN is out of touch with the reality, after the agency claimed in another set of slides that “racism” can unite a race for a “good purpose”.
“[This] shows a low IQ on the part of the BTN officer who prepared the report as well as a total lack of sensitivity … This also indicates the total lack of competence, critical thinking skills and professionalism of BTN staff. Is this the calibre of civil servants that we have now?” said Noor Farida.
After the reports by Malay Mail Online on Monday, BTN removed the folder containing the slides from its website, and claimed these were for internal “academic” use.
Despite denials by the government and the agency, sporadic leaks of closed-door events conducted by the BTN or featuring its staff have continued to entrench suspicions that the bureau was a hotbed of racism and “brainwashing”.
A senior BTN official caused an uproar back in 2010 when word leaked that he had used the terms “si mata sepet” and “si botol” at a closed-door Puteri Umno gathering to describe the Chinese and Indians respectively.
The terms are considered derogatory with “si mata sepet” meaning slit-eyed and “si botol”, alcoholic, in Malay.