KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today hit back at Datuk Seri Nazri Abdul Aziz for calling him a racist and urged the minister to instead quit Umno because it was indeed a racist party.
The former premier and the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department have been at loggerheads over the need to revamp the National Civics Bureau (BTN), which critics charge with cultivating racism instead of its original purpose of nation building.
Yesterday Nazri called Dr Mahathir a “bloody racist” for defending BTN courses while reasserting the Cabinet’s earlier decision to overhaul the programme in line with the policy of 1 Malaysia mooted by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“Nazri says I am a racist, he cannot deny he is not because he knows everything very well,” said Dr Mahathir.
“He belongs to a party that is racist because Umno is meant only for Malays, no one else can join. But he is against racism, so he should resign from the party.”
Nazri yesterday said Dr Mathathir’s postings in his blog were also racist and contrary to his own stand when he was the prime minister.
“When he was prime minister he wanted everyone to support him but now he only talks about the Malays, so I cannot accept his comments,” Nazri had said yesterday.
Dr Mahathir had defended BTN’s training modules and described them as suitable for instilling patriotism in Malaysians.
BTN came under public scrutiny recently, after Pakatan Rakyat-ruled Selangor prohibited state civil servants and students of higher educational institutions owned by the state from attending its courses, claiming that they were an indoctrination process by the Barisan Nasional government and aimed at brainwashing Malaysians into hate opposition parties.
PR leaders and former participants have also claimed that the courses were racist and emphasised the idea of Malay superiority.