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By Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 27 — I am one of the privileged few to have attended a local public university and learned the meaning of hate, thanks to the ever popular Biro Tata Negara.
All undergraduates were forced to attend this programme or else they would not be eligible for graduation.
The BTN under the Prime Minister’s Department brought in “intellectual” speakers who were supposed to enlighten the students about the meaning of being a Malaysian but instead it felt more like a communist propaganda camp brainwashing those attending about the importance of “Ketuanan Melayu”.
The camp would usually take place during the weekends. Students would have to register early in the morning and the programme would last the whole day.
The organisers were always on their guard, asking participants to show their student identification cards each time they entered the hall, fearing the presence of outsiders.
In the hall, students were asked to turn off their mobile phones.
During the lectures, questions were planted among the audience and the students were advised not to ask any other questions.
One speaker began with the history of Malaysia and how much the country had gone through, always emphasising the May 13 riots.
He stressed the point of how much the Malays had sacrificed and how the community should be united especially from outside threat — the Chinese community.
He said that the Chinese community were “the Jews of Asia” and were just itching to take over when Malays were disunited and broken.
The speaker also revealed a greater Chinese conspiracy where the Chinese Malaysians were working together with Singapore to topple the Malay government.
“Do you want to become like the Malays in Singapore?” he asked.
He also went so far as to criticise Malay girls for dating boys from other races.
He added that they should not be cheap and embarrass their families.
Once, a student told the speaker that as Muslims, we should also respect other races who are also Muslims.
“All Muslims are Malays so it does not matter if they are Chinese or Indians. If they are Muslims then they are Malays,” the speaker replied.
This is why I was relieved when I learned that the Selangor government had moved to ban its civil servants, employees of state subsidiaries and students at state-owned education institutions from attending any BTN courses with immediate effect.
However I believe racism in varsities does not end at BTN because classrooms have also become victims of ignorant scholars.
My friend was verbally abused during his sociology class when he did not agree with the points made by his lecturer.
“You must be DKK,” the lecturer told him.
“What is DKK?” he asked.
“You must be darah keturunan keling (descendents of Indians),” the lecturer said, pointing to his dark skin.
My Saudi friend was also shocked by the comments made by his lecturer in his Islamic civilisation class.
“We should save our Orang Asli from the Chinese people. They are like the Palestinians and the Chinese are Israel. We must fight the Jews,” the lecturer told his students.
The lecturer even failed one of his students in his oral exam when he quoted a Western scholar in his presentation.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves. You are a Muslim and should only use Islamic scholars,” he scolded the student.
I was personally saddened when my Islamic law lecturer compared Christianity to Head & Shoulder’s 3 in 1 shampoo in referring to the religion’s Holy Trinity.
I feel that racism has been institutionalised in our country and that BTN is only the tip of the iceberg.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin defended BTN yesterday and claimed that it was not racist but is line with the 1 Malaysia concept.
I have to humbly disagree and would like to suggest maybe the ministers should bring their overseas children home and let them have a taste of what BTN is.
What more can I say about BTN and the "designers" behind it ? The above article appeared in The Malaysian Insider.( for the comments section click here )