Criticisms about civics courses an exaggeration, says Dr M

CYBERJAYA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday that criticisms about the National Civics Bureau’s (BTN) training modules, including those claiming that they were of a racist nature are an exaggeration.He said the courses only taught government servants to have new values and culture, such as to have more discipline, being honest and not to be corrupt, in order to serve the country well.

“We have had this thing for 20 years. During the time when I was the prime minister, nobody complained anything and the people who attended these courses also found them to be very useful.”

“What we are trying to teach them is that they should have new values, new cultures, because the culture and the value system they have is not conducive to success. I don’t see what’s wrong with that,” he told reporters when asked to comment about criticisms by many parties regarding BTN training courses that surfaced recently.

The BTN issue started hogging the headlines after Pakatan-ruled Selangor recently prohibited state civil servants and students of higher educational institutions owned by the state from attending BTN courses claiming that they were an indoctrination process by the Barisan Nasional government and aimed at brainwashing Malaysians to hate opposition parties.

On Wednesday, the Penang government, which is also Pakatan-ruled, took the cue from the Selangor government and banned all its employees from attending BTN courses with immediate effect. — Bernama

Dr Mahathir, who on Sunday had commented that there was no need to revamp BTN courses, also said that nobody could deny historical facts.

“Of course when you discuss the history of the country you have to mention this country was called Tanah Melayu before, now it’s called Malaysia because we have other people who settled down here.

“That is a fact of history. You can’t deny the facts of history. But if you cannot mention that even, than I think we are denying history,” he said.

Earlier, Dr Mahathir had witnessed the signing of RM120 million Istisna’ Ijarah term financing agreement between Emkay Group’s Joyful Gateway Sdn Bhd with RHB Islamic Bank Berhad for the construction of the Shell Shared Service Centre (SSSC) building, which will be the first green building in Cyberjaya.

In his speech Dr Mahathir said he was glad that the development in Cyberjaya had again showed some progress, after quite some time.

“One time Cyberjaya was not growing as it should but now we are seeing much more construction going on here in order to provide facilities for people in the information technology industry,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also encouraged more companies to build energy efficient buildings, like the SSSC building, for they were not only environment friendly but could also help the government save, especially in terms of electricity cost. — Bernama

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