A National Civics Bureau (BTN) teaching module which independent publishers and writers say contains ‘reckless claims’ against them. – Screenshot, June 20, 2015.
A group of independent publishers and writers highlighted by the National Civics Bureau (BTN) for being anti-establishment has given the government agency 14 days to issue a public apology or face legal action.
The publishers and writers also want BTN to retract a teaching module which was uploaded to its website in March but taken down five days ago after it was highlighted in the media.
Saying that the module contained "reckless claims" against them, the group, including Faisal Mustaffa of Merpati Jingga, Benz Ali and DAP's Melati Rahim, said it would not hesitate to take further action if BTN failed to respond within 14 days.
“We deny the accusations made by BTN in the slides that appeared on its website www.btn.gov.my on March 11 and were subsequently removed on June 15," they said in a statement.
“We believe that BTN, under the Research and Publications division, has made reckless claims without any verification and we demand that BTN issue a public apology.
“Should BTN fail to retract this teaching module and admit the mistakes it made in the slides on their website, we will not hesitate to take further action. We give the agency 14 days to respond.”
In a document made available online, Putrajaya's BTN had red-flagged the Malaysian "indie" music and literature movement, saying it was anti-establishment and could impact the results of the next general election.
It also highlighted student activist Adam Adli Abd Halim, Melati, and writer and independent filmmaker Amir Muhammad as members of the indie scene.
BTN, an agency under the Prime Minister's Department which critics say functions to “brainwash” civil servants into being loyal towards the government, described indie (independent) music as ska, hip hop and rap while its literature genres include Zine, blook (blog + book), blogs, Facebook and Telegram.
Prepared by BTN's research and publishing department, the document listed five recommendations to curb the growth of the movement, such as banning books published by so-called indie groups that were deemed obscene.
Among the groups it named as being part of the indie scene were Buku Jalanan, Baskerz, Geng Jurnal and Rabak.
It also considered the following as indie publishers: Studio Anai-Anai, Merpati Jingga, Lejen Press, DuBook Press and Poket Press.
It said indie groups moved around without any monitoring which could result in a "negative impact" on the government.
Its books, BTN added, were being sold without any hindrances and it continued to generate young icons that brought "extreme ideas" such as those espoused by Adam Adli, Amir and Melati.
In a separate document, BTN also said that the open letter by the G25 or group of prominent Malays calling for rational dialogue on the position of Islam and Islamic law in Malaysia had given ground to pluralism and liberalism.
BTN also said members of the G25 had been educated under a "socialist" system, going through English-medium schools during the socialist era. – June 20, 2015.
~ The Malaysian Insider