Lawyers Group Claims Plot to ‘Brainwash’ Court Officials

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Call for a full investigation, with leaders of the former regime to explain indoctrination.

Lawyers for Liberty Allegations:

  • Entire court system may be tainted by BTN brainwashing
  • Judges, registrars, court officers ordered to attend propaganda programmes before GE14
  • Programmes aimed to keep BN in power

The Chief Registrar of the Federal Court office ordered judges to attend a “special discussion” on Transformation National 2050 (TN50) on top of a National Civics Bureau (BTN) course right before GE14, claims Lawyers for Liberty.

TN50 was an initiative by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to drive development from 2020 through to 2050.

Advisor N Surendran said besides judges, deputy registrars and judicial officers were also ordered to attend the discussion on Feb 27, just three weeks prior to the three BTN courses.

Surendran said the order came from the Judicial Capacity Training Division of the Chief Registrar’s office and that attendance was compulsory.

“It has nothing whatsoever to do with enhancing judicial or professional skills,” he claimed, adding that it was an “overtly political activity”.

Surendran made the claims in a statement on Thursday (Aug 2) in response to the Chief Registrar’s office’s defence of BTN courses as an effort to spur patriotism and team spirit.

He said their claims that the BTN was brought in to organise the course to save cost undermines the doctrine of separation of powers.

He called for the Chief Registrar to release the full contents and audio recording of the BTN programmes to support its claim that it is not political.

Surendran also disputed claims that the dates of BTN courses falling on the eve of GE14 were just a coincidence, pointing out that three separate BTN programmes were held back to back in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Kedah within a period of just three weeks in the run-up to GE14.

“It is a flagrant breach of the doctrine of separation of powers, to force judges to attend courses organised by a unit of the executive such as the BTN.

“The executive has no business to give any lectures to judges, who must be seen to be completely independent,” the former Padang Serai MP said.

Documents suggest a bid to “indoctrinate” Palace of Justice staff as well as court officers from the Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam courts.

“The Chief Registrar’s office claims that there was no political element or indoctrination in the BTN courses, but this is contradicted by persons who attended the courses who say that the contents of the programmes were political and pro-Barisan.

Yusof Mat Isa

“The rot runs deeper than we had previously suspected. It is not just sessions court judges, but the entire court system that appears to have been targeted for NCB’s propaganda,” Surendran said.

Allegedly, those attending the course were impressed upon the importance of Barisan Nasional maintaining power while the rakyat would suffer under Pakatan Harapan.

The BTN, created in 1974 as a research unit under the Youth Ministry, was later renamed and parked under the Prime Minister’s Department in 1981 when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad became prime minister.

The agency is supposed to work towards nation building but it has long courted controversy, with allegations that it was being used by the previous BN regime to brainwash civil servants with government propaganda.

Its critics, including participants, have claimed that the programmes aim to keep BN in power, among others.

Surendran urged for a full investigation into the matter which he said was clearly intended to influence the thought process of the judiciary, and its decision-making.

It should also be further established what else has been done to compromise the judiciary, he added, and for how long.

“The leaders of the former regime, such as Najib and Zahid must also be called to explain.

Seth Akmal/TMI

“New guidelines, rules and laws have now to be drawn up to protect judicial independence and to prevent a recurrence of what has happened.

“It is now imperative that the new government set up an independent panel of inquiry with a mandate to get to the bottom of the matter and make public its findings and recommendations.”

Harapan had, in its election manifesto, stated that it would abolish the BTN.

However, it was reported earlier last month that it would be retained under the Prime Minister’s Department.