Putrajaya to abolish BTN ‘soon’, says Syed Saddiq

This article first appeared in The Edge Market on July 9, 2018

Putrajaya is committed to abolishing the National Civics Bureau or Biro Tatanegara (BTN) soon, says Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

Syed Saddiq said discussion on the matter is currently being undertaken at leadership level, and an official statement on the decision and justifications will be announced soon.

“We still want to have political education and character building but we just do not want that political education and character building to then be used as an ammunition for information indoctrination,” he said.

“There will be a full explanation soon,” Syed Saddiq added.

He stressed his support for forums, debates and dialogues of political education, where political views are respected, regardless of which party the speaker is from.

The minister was speaking at a forum titled “The changed political landscape and the aspirations of the youth” at Sunway University, which also had INSEAD executive coach Datuk Dr Vaseehar Hassan and Selangor State Assemblywoman for Kampung Tunku, Lim Yi Wei, as panel speakers.

During the forum, Syed Saddiq reiterated his commitment to bring the voting age down to 18 years.

If the suggestion goes through, there will be a very big incentive for political parties to reach out to youth voters, he said.

“At the moment, why would politicians reach out to those who are 18 years old, when they know that’s not their target group?”

“But once we reduce it (voting age) to 18, there is an incentive factor for political parties to start reaching out to them,” Syed Saddiq said.

“The fact that [Prime Minister] Tun Mahathir has commented on this, and say that he is in favour of this, is indicative of how serious we are,” he added.

Source: The Edge Markets