16-05-2018 17:37

Wait for official statement from Home Ministry sec-gen on Pakatan registration

PETALING JAYA: An official statement on Pakatan Harapan’s registration as a coalition is set to be made on Thursday (May 17).

Pakatan Harapan secretariat chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah tweeted this following a story by a portal stating that Pakatan's application had been approved by the Registrar of Societies.

He clarified that the coalition had not received the registration certificate pictured.

“When contacted, I said to wait for the official statement from the KSU KDN (Home Ministry secretary-general),” he said on Wednesday evening via the @saifuddinabd Twitter handle.

“Pertaining Pakatan Harapan’s registration, we understand that the KSU KDN will make an official announcement about it tomorrow,” he added.



15-05-2018 17:35

Rule of law must be applied when obtaining pardon for Anwar

KUANTAN: Pakatan Harapan secretariat chief Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says that the rule of law must be applied when obtaining a pardon for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.


"The issue of whether there is a delay does not arise," Saifuddin said, commenting on the postponement of the Pardons Board's meeting.

He said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had made it clear that he wanted Anwar's pardon to be conducted as quickly as possible.

"But at the same time, the Prime Minister also very clearly stated that we must uphold the rule of law. There are procedures we have to follow," Saifuddin said after attending a thanksgiving event here on Monday night.

It was reported that Anwar's daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, said that the Pardons Board committee would meet on Tuesday (May 15) to discuss his Royal Pardon.

However, PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil later issued a statement, saying that the Pardons Board would only meet on Wednesday (May 16).

In 2015, Anwar was sentenced to five years' jail after the Federal Court upheld his guilty verdict for sodomy.

Last Friday (May 11), Dr Mahathir said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V had expressed his willingness to grant a full and immediate pardon to Anwar.


03-10-2015 07:39

Saifuddin sends replies to Umno's show-cause letter

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah has sent two letters in reply to Umno’s show-cause demand for attending an opposition roundtable discussion on the formation of Pakatan Harapan.

The first letter was from a Global Movement of Moderates Foundation lawyer seeking clarification on the show-cause letter addressed to Saifuddin in his capacity as foundation chief executive officer and not as an Umno member.

The lawyer wanted to know if the show-cause letter was directed at Saifuddin in his capacity as foundation CEO and if so, would it also be involved.

The second reply was from Saifuddin himself. In it, the former deputy minister asked for clarification on three issues.

Again, he asked if the show-cause letter was directed at him as foundation CEO or as an Umno member.

Saifuddin also wanted to know if his case had been referred to the Umno disciplinary board because the show-cause letter was issued on behalf of the Umno headquarters and not the disciplinary board.

“The show-cause letter is vague. Since it mentions that disciplinary action can be taken against me, I am asking what offence I have purportedly committed and which section of the party constitution I am alleged to have breached,” he said in an interview.

The two letters were sent to the Umno headquarters yesterday.

Saifuddin said that while he had not expected the show-cause letter, it came as a surprise.

To a question, he denied that he was at the opposition roundtable to spy on them.

“I was there to achieve the higher objective of politics. I believe in talking to every side,” he said.

On Sept 22, Saifuddin raised eyebrows when he turned up for discussions for the new opposition pact to replace Pakatan Rakyat, but insisted that he was there in his capacity as chairman of Akedemi Belia, an NGO.

12-07-2015 18:33

The proof is in the experience

THE sounds of sobbing in the darkened room as the last strains of the song Warisan faded off scared the hell out of me.

It was not the fear that I, as a Malaysian Malay, would lose our country to the “others” if I was not careful, as the song preached.

Nor was it the fear of losing my roots when I am all alone as a student in a foreign country; or worse, of being unknowingly apostasised if I became too friendly with the Brits at university – as the facilitators had painstakingly drummed into us throughout the week-long Biro Tatanegara (BTN or the National Civics Bureau) course for government scholarship recipients.

It was the fear of being found out as an ingrate, as the pressure grew overwhelming among the participants to show that you have fully internalised the lessons that the military-like facilitators had been trying to impart.

I am ashamed to say I gave in to my fear, and I pretended to cry.

Warisan or “Heritage” is a song familiar to those who have attended any BTN course in their lifetime.

The supposedly nationalistic song is an integral part of BTN’s module to fire up patriotism and instil the appreciation of the Malay heritage.

While some say the lyrics are beautiful and meaningful – it is admittedly poetic – others claim it is a bit “racialised” with its emphasis on Malay unity against the hidden “enemies” in our midst that are intent on robbing the Malays of our homeland.

For a teen from a small northern town with good friends of various races as yours truly, and one who grew up being told to never forget her mixture of Indian and Indonesian ancestry, it was one disturbing song.

Even now, almost 30 years on, and despite the fact that the “muggle” in me has made peace with itself, I find it difficult to stay unbiased as the debate on BTN rears its ugly head again.

The BTN was set up in the 1970s as a Youth Research Unit under the Youth Ministry.

But by the 1980s, the obscure agency had evolved into the BTN as we know now and was placed under the Prime Minister’s office.

It’s objective is to nurture the ­spirit of patriotism among Malaysians, and train them into future leaders who are “well-rounded intellectually, emotionally and spiritually” to support the national development efforts.

For decades, BTN has been training scholars, public servants, university students and youths with courses that, on paper, is good for the country.

But BTN has become a controversy.

Many of those who have gone through BTN’s programmes claim that the training explicitly promotes ketuanan Melayu (Malay superiority) and Barisan Nasional.

Some of the participants say they feel like they were being inducted to a secret club for the ruling elite.

Former BTN participant Amir says: “They isolate the trainees and inductees, and the course seems to be run with the strategy of breaking down the individuals with lack of sleep and physical exhaustion while pummelling them with non-stop lectures and mind games.”

Other BTN participants have also mentioned about going through packed days that began as early as 4am, and ended as late as 2am.

Activities include tazkirah (religious talks), lectures, group tasks, discussions and adventure exercises like hiking and abseiling.

Trainees were completely cut off from their families or friends, without access to the outside world or the media.

But in the age of the Internet and social media, it is getting difficult to keep people isolated and things hidden from the public, he says.

That is why he believes it was only in the noughties that BTN caused a major public furore when some of its course content and incendiary exchanges during the regular sessions were leaked.

One incident that irked many was an alleged case of a high-ranking BTN officer who called the Chinese “slitty eyed” and Indians “alcoholic” in 2009.

The recent leaks of slides used in the BTN course again expose the alleged racial and partisan political leanings.

As reported, BTN had folders on its website with slides claiming that “racism can unite a race” and warning of the negative influences of “unsavoury” Malays such as online interfaith community Projek Dialog editor Ahmad Fuad Rahmat; former student leader Adam Adli Abdul Halim; political secretary for MP Lim Kit Siang Dyana Sofya Mohd Daud; and the prominent Malay group G25.

And most perplexing is the list of local independent publishers and Indie musicians and artists, who BTN warned are “masterminds” of an anti-establishment movement in the country.

That has led to more calls to abolish BTN.


Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia (PAGE) with Jaringan Melayu Malaysia (JMM) and other NGOs holding press conference on PPSMI. Wan Saiful Wan Jan, IDEAS CEO deliver his speech during the press conference. AHMAD IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star.
Wan Saiful: ‘It is an open secret that there are many partisan party programmes masquerading as public education programmes.

One staunch critic is DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang who said BTN must go for its alleged promotion of racism.

Lim also feels BTN is a gross waste of public funds. He reportedly claimed the country has spent over RM1.1bil on the bureau since its inception.

He also alleged the distorted teachings in BTN contributed to the increasing racial and religious polari­sation in the country.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim, who is in charge of the BTN, refutes the allegations against the bureau.

“BTN has never condoned racism. And how can there be any element of racism when the programmes are opened to all races?” he asks.

Global Movement of Moderates (GMM) chief executive officer Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah says at the very least, BTN must be reviewed, “You have to admit that not all BTN parti­cipants had a bad experience and found it racist.”

A main problem, he opines, is that BTN does not have a clear definition of what patriotism is, “so the facilitators don’t really have a curriculum that can educate participants on what it means to be patriotic and the needs of being patriotic.”

“And because you don’t really have a curriculum or module on patrio­tism, it is left to the facilitators to interpret it in her or his own understanding and beliefs, and I think this where the problem arises – some facilitators become overzealous,” says Saifuddin, who was not only a participant in a BTN course but also later became a facilitator for the bureau.

The BTN had always served to be an agency to inculcate patriotism and not Malay supremacy, as allegedly being promoted now, he adds. “I don’t remember Malay supremacy being a was purely patriotism and to enhance civic minded­ness.

“Has it lost its way then? I think it’s about time we review its existence, and if need be, abolish it, but we need to look at the whole picture before we make any decisions.

“It is important to review the curriculum, content and facilitators – the references they use in the course, recruitment of facilitators and their training,” he says, highlighting that from his own experience of BTN, the courses had always had a good mix of participants of diverse races.

He stresses that other elements such as basic understanding of the pillars of the nation like the Constitution and Rukunegara; political education; and interfaith understanding, should be included in a BTN module.

“Ultimately, we should break the stereotyping of patriotism,” he says. It’s not about rhetorics, songs or marching and waving flags.

“If someone comes up with an idea to plant trees, for example, or a recycling project, to save Malaysia’s environment, that is patriotic too,” he says.

To ensure that the BTN is suitable for all, the agency must not only open the courses to more non-Malays but also recruit more non-Malays to become facilitators and BTN staff.

Saifuddin believes that a more pressing issue is whether BTN is a good use of public funds.

“We have spent a lot of money in schools to instil patriotism. For example, we already have a patriotism element in our new History curriculum and we have the national service, although if I have to choose, I’ll choose BTN instead of national service which costs more to run.”

As another who has been on both divides of BTN as a trainee and trainer, Kuala Selangor MP Datuk Dr Irmohizam Ibrahim says the Government’s civics bureau and its courses are still relevant to Malaysia today.

“It is a question of perception. In fact, the BTN is trying to rebrand itself and its module to be more inclusive, including a name change,” says Dr Irmohizam, highlighting that the new modules are more intellectual and have a stronger emphasis on nation building.

Dr Irmohizam, who is also Umno Supreme Council member and a core executive member of 1M4U, says his experience in attending a BTN course only left him with sweet memories and useful knowledge.

“As a participant when I was a university student, I was happy, because there were more physical activities for team building, and as the course was open to all student leaders nationwide, I was able to meet and form friendships with student leaders from other universities and build my networking.”

Not so for Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) chief executive officer Wan Saiful Wan Jan who had to attend two BTN courses, one in 1992 before he pursued his studies in the United Kingdom and again in a refresher course midway during his studies.

“I found it racist even then – it was used to promote Malay interests, and even in front of non-Malay participants the speakers were championing Malay rights and saying that Malays owned the country. But it was not only about Malay rights – it was also about Umno.

“They preached about how it was the only party that can be trusted to run the country. They made it quite clear that BTN has no other purpose than to protect the interests of the ruling party,” he says.

For him, the crux of the issue here is the use of taxpayer’s money for partisan purposes.

“It is an open secret that there are many programmes masque­rading as public education programmes but are really partisan party programmes run by various government agencies.

“It is not just Umno or BN or the federal government who do this, state governments run by opposition parties are also doing it –everyone’s doing it and we need to change that,” he argues, stressing that the way to stop this practice is to enact laws that can punish those who abuse public money, especially for party purposes.

Wan Saiful strongly believes that BTN needs to be abolished as it is also redundant.

“There is no need for an agency like BTN, the Government is already spending a lot of money in schools for various programmes to build character and motivate people.”

With the mixed views on BTN, the jury is still out on whether the national bureau is a hotbed of ­racism and intolerance, and as Razali had argued in Parliament, more evidence is needed.

Perhaps, the best proof is to gather feedback from the hundreds of thousands of those who have gone through BTN courses to ascertain if it needs to be revamped, or axed.


06-03-2015 18:11

Cohesive National Effort Needed to Counter Terrorist Propaganda



PETALING JAYA: There is an estimated 20,000 hours of audio-visual web content which support terrorism either directly or indirectly globally, and this needs to be countered online if the fight against recruitment by terror groups is to be won.

“Unfortunately, the counter-narrative is very small.

“It is probably just 10% in terms of proportion and we really need to work very hard,” said Global Movement of Moderates chief executive Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic).

He called for a cohesive national effort to counter online terrorist propaganda targeting Malay youths.

 Saifuddin said organisations in Europe were doing a good job of producing short (counter-narrative) videos, but there very few in this region, especially in Malay.
Read the full article Here.
10-05-2013 06:21

GE13: Despite polls defeat, Saifuddin wants to make Temerloh an education hub

TEMERLOH: Despite losing his parliamentary seat to PAS, Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah (pic) is bent on pursuing his dream of making Temerloh the education hub of Pahang.

Saying he was not disheartened by his defeat, he said that he hoped to reach out to his constituents through this new platform.

“I will be setting up a youth academy one of the pledges in my personal manifesto to continue serving my voters,” he said at a press conference here yesterday.

“The academy will provide three major orientations, comprising education and training, research and publication.

“My aim is to make Temerloh the top education hub in Pahang,” he said, adding that details of the academy would be announced later.

He said he was looking for a suitable location to site both his academy and service centre.

Saifuddin said he had listed in his manifesto four academies but he had to now put three of them on hold because he was no longer Temerloh MP and also due to budget constraints.

In the just-concluded GE13, Saifuddin failed to retain his seat when he was defeated in a straight fight by PAS Youth chief Nasrudin Hassan Tantawi by a majority of 1,070 votes.

The number of spoilt votes were almost as high at 977 votes.

The high voter turnout of 85.24% surpassed that of the national average.

Saifuddin said he would invite the Universiti Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections to conduct a survey in the parliamentary seat on why he had lost.

“I want to know the factors behind my defeat and, since the centre is an independent body, the findings will be helpful to help me improve myself,” he said, thanking the voters who came out in droves to cast their ballots.

Accepting the decision of the voters, he said it was an important milestone and part of the democratic right of the people.




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