BTN'S ROLE IN NATION-BUILDING IN PH GOVERNMENT

on Saturday, May 19


Allow me to give an opinion on the statements by SUARAM urging National Civics Bureau or Biro Tatanegara (BTN) to be closed here http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/05/18/no-place-for-biro-tata-negara-in-new-malaysia-says-suaram/. I understand it is based on the experiences of some individuals in BTN courses. 

Many years back, I used to be posted to BTN Hq. I was not even a trainer or facilitator then when I was involved with BTN camp. However, I am aware of the need to foster patriotism among Malaysia to their country. That was the main purpose BTN was set up and for which its trainings were aimed at.

My brief experience with the United States of America, facilitated by my presence there for over a year alluded me to the fact this was part of training and process in nation building.  This was what drew the attention of scholars such the likes of Francis Fukuyama, Noam Chomsky, Allan Bloom and Samuel Huntington on why and how this process is important in creating or moulding a sense of togetherness and belonging among people within a nation-state. These scholars spoke of a love for one’s country, sense of togetherness and a respect for each other’s human right, religion and culture and a high sense of discipline. This sense of “Americanness” regardless of racial, ethnic and national origin brings togetherness and leads to the identification of them as “we the American people”. That process in the United States brought out that sense of togetherness.

We must remember that BTN has access to huge pool of resources, expertise and experienced trainers and facilitators drawn from various spectrum of the society. It would be a huge loss if due to sentiment and whim of the moment we are to close BTN. BTN may have veered away from its original purpose and that was to unite and create that sense of togetherness and a sense of belonging to a nation-state called Malaysia. If that is what bothered many, then the problem is not that BTN is not needed, but what need to be done to set it on its right course is on the need to refine its operation, restructure abit and put in the right people whose aspirations are similar to that whom lead the government of the day.

It is clear that BTN may need revamp from various angles such as: structure, purpose, and staffing. It must meet the need and aspiration of the people who wanted change that was promised through the new government lead by the Alliance of Hope. There is hope, and BTN or the new and revitalized BTN can continue to play this important role under the leadership of the Alliance of Hope government.

Lastly, I strongly believe that the function of BTN is needed and even more now with the new political environment. The Alliance of Hope government and leadership would be less than honest with itself to think otherwise. The process on nation-building continue to unfold and there is a need for an agency such as BTN to take up this role as Malaysia tread into the future path toward a greater and more united Malaysia.

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