Browsing through The Star today, this article caught my attention. BTN courses teaches disunity (The Star).
As PSD Scholars and based in INTEC (UiTM - Shah Alam) for pre-university, students were required back then to attend a Biro Tatanegara Camp (camps are nationwide) and also a Kem Bina Insan in Selangor.
The Kem Bina Insan was good I have to say. We were taught the meaning of racial harmony and unity and it was the very first Government organized camp that I attended.
Events, activities and the module of Kem Bina Insan were very meaningful. The officers in KBI were able to show our weaknesses, point out our strengths and unite us as a team - a Malaysian team.
Some of us were at first indiscipline and lazy, yet the officers manage to push us up to be adults.
However, the camping experiences organized by the Government turned sour after we attended a Kursus Biro Tatanegara.
During my year, we were split into two groups and each group went to different camps. My group was sent to Kem Ulu Sepri, Negeri Sembilan.
At the BTN Camp, there were modules that caused the scholars to be uncomfortable as the contents were very racist.
The non Bumiputeras in the Camp had to endure all the racial stings and remarks that BTN officers brought up.
There was a time when the officer in charge asked a Malay student whether she is happy that the Malays will not get special rights one day, that the Social Contract allows non Malays to stay in their land and many more.
There were instances also where the officer even provoked non Malay students asking whether they were happy with the special rights issue .
By using the word "provoke", I seriously mean PROVOKE and not DISCUSS.
It was also very vague at that time what BTN Camps were for - nation building or racial riots? The most terrifying experience was during the open forum on the final night of BTN Camp.
The open forum was a discussion session where the then Deputy Director of BTN and the Special Task officer to Director of BTN attended together with all the program coordinators of BTN in that Camp.
We were encouraged to ask any questions including politics, Government policies, religious issues or anything. It was basically a free for all session where anything under the sky can be discussed.
So of course, the event that night did not end without a commotion. Some questions were raised to discuss politics and policies.
And I can say, these questions were all manipulated and answered in a manner that we would feel uneasy no matter what race we are - Malays, Chinese, Indians etc.
I was specifically unhappy with the answers by the Deputy Director of BTN who twisted the questions and answered by hammering the students from a racial point of view.
That night, we sat there uneasy as the high ranking officers continue to answer innocent questions that could have been proper discussion of thoughts but they ended up provoking racial sentiments of all races.
I hope the Government of Malaysia and the Parliament of Malaysia can look into reforming the BTN camps.
I am sure the BTN modules are clear and have the unity objectives stated in there but I believe the officers are not using the modules in the proper manner.
Also, BTN needs to be scrutinised to ensure a peaceful Malaysia because what happened in my BTN camp could have easily sparked a racial clash right in Ulu Sepri itself.
We cannot afford to have the dismantling effects of BTN’s module over the efforts of other Government agencies in our quest of one way towards UNITY.
I surely do not want to see a repeat of such a thing under 1 Malaysia.