INSTEAD of beginning the New Year as a single, united Malaysian nation, churches have been attacked in a series of orchestrated acts of violence. Such acts render the 1Malaysia concept pure rhetoric. The police and the prime minister have promised swift action against the perpetrators. However, the government has made too many empty promises in the past for me to take their promises seriously.
When our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak came into power, he promised a vibrant and free media. Instead, the media was strapped in a tighter straitjacket than before, through such incidents as the arrest of press freedom advocate Wong Chin Huat, and the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC)’s attempted censorship of news portal Malaysiakini‘s videos on the cow-head protest.
Although freedom of religion is a basic human right of all Malaysians, as enshrined in the the Federal Constitution, that right has been violated time and time again. Bibles have been seized by customs arbitrarily; temples have been demolished without reason; bloody protests parading a cow’s head, a sacred animal to Hindus, were organised when a Hindu temple was relocated.
So, pray tell, how can I take any comfort in the government’s paper-thin reassurances to protect my rights, or even my very life as a Christian Malaysian citizen?
We have put up with continuous attacks that have eroded our freedom of religion long enough. The latest acts of terrorism against the Christian houses of God, designed to engineer fear and cow Malaysians into submission, cannot be tolerated. Calling racial and religious issues as “sensitive” is nothing but a despicable ploy to intensify fear and mass hysteria, so that giving up one’s right to freedom of religion seems like a better alternative to a nebulous threat of chaos and anarchy.
If Najib sincerely desires to craft a 1Malaysia that will last for generations, I challenge him to uphold the Federal Constitution and protect Christians’ and all Malaysians’ right to freely practise their own religion without fear.
I challenge him to promote open religious dialogue and discourse, instead of allowing incendiary demonstrations that favour the majority, so that religion can be discussed in a peaceful and civil manner.
I challenge him to practise transparency by exposing the political villains behind the orchestrated church bombings, and to bring them to justice.
Dare the prime minister take up these challenges to substantiate his promises with action?
11 Jan 2010