Shut down BTN to strengthen parliamentary democracy
For the sake of Malaysia’s already truncated parliamentary democracy, the Barisan Nasional Federal Government should immediately close the operations of Biro Tata Negara.
Apart from instigating racial hatred as testified by many participants, BTN seminars and courses take partisan stance against Pakatan Rakyat parties, which are the legitimate Opposition in Malaysia.
It is unethical and against the spirit of parliamentary democracy for any taxpayer-funded body to engage in partisan activity. Worse still, it is at great cost to the public, almost as much as we spend on our Parliament.
It is shocking to know that the federal budget for BTN this year was more than that of the budget for the Parliament! In 2009 BTN was allocated RM74 million while the Parliament RM70 million.
Although the budget for BTN was reduced to RM62 million for 2010, the budget for the Parliament was also reduced to RM66 million.
It seems that the BN government is sending the message to the people that the racially-motivated and extremely partisan agency is as important as the highest decision-making body in the country.
Parliament’s budget includes allowances for members of parliament, emolument for civil servants, and other administrative cost. Parliament’s budget is definitely meagre especially compared with the Prime Minister’s Department’s budget of RM14 billion for 2009 and RM12 billion for 2010.
In other words, the Prime Minister’s Department runs a budget 200 times that of the Parliament, a sign of extreme lopsidedness in our so-called parliamentary democracy. After all, the Prime Minister’s Department is only one of twenty-five ministries.
Something is definitely wrong with our parliamentary democracy!
In the next financial year, Parliament is to employ 263 staff while BTN has 244 formal staff with an undisclosed number of “cadres and volunteers” operating “task forces” and “community services”. (The Prime Minister’s Department claims to have 29,005 positions).
Instead of having BTN to split the nation politically and racially as well as making bipartisanship impossible, the Barisan Nasional Government ought to close BTN and transfer its budget to enhance the operations of the Parliament with the aim of creating a First World Parliament.