Outcome of the 12th General Elections (GE) of Malaysia on 8th March 2008 revealed that Malaysians are seeking for a drastic change.
by Pastor Allen Tan (Yew Fook)
Barisan Nasional (BN, National Front), the ruling coalition front comprises 14 parties, has failed to maintain its two-thirds majority seats in Parliament. Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi who is the chairman of BN will face tough times ahead as he struggles to reform BN.
It is the worst ever loss in history for the ruling coalition led by United Malays National Organization (UMNO) since the 1959 GE. BN has secured 140 seats out of the 222 seats, i.e. 63% seats. The three Opposition parties, People’s Justice Party (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), and Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (Parti Islam Se-Malaysia, PAS), formed an electoral pact with each other prior to the poll, have harvested 37% seats. At present the three parties formed a postelection alliance, unofficially called as Barisan Rakyat (People’s Front).
If the outcome is based on total ballots for seats in Parliament, BN only gained 51% of the popular vote from the 7.9 million ballots cast on 8th March.
The only election which was close to this in its outcome was that of 1969. The then governing coalition under the banner of Alliance won 66% of the seats in Parliament.
This time around, not only BN could not recapture the state of Kelantan from PAS, but four other states of Kedah, Penang, Perak and Selangor were being toppled by the Oppositions as well. Except for Kedah these are rich states. And for the Federal Territory in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, BN has lost 10 out of 11 seats in Parliament. The Federal capital and the three rich states are in fact the hub of an economy network. Besides these losses, BN has managed to win 4 out of 13 state capitals’ seats in Parliament only. Even then two of which were barely a narrow escape! Therefore, it was indeed a tremendous embarrassment for BN!
I would like to do a post-mortem on poll outcome. There are multiple causes contributed to the downfall of BN. It did not come overnight. It took an accumulated dissatisfaction over its performance. But I would prefer to do a thorough analysis from the spiritual and moral angles which are valuable to the Christian conscience. Christians are to uphold love for men, integrity, justice and righteousness. We need to accept the fact that each territory (Malaysia is no exception) is controlled by a strongman. Christians do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual kingdom of darkness. (Ephesians 6:11-12).
Post-mortem on Poll Outcome
1. The rise of Anwar Ibrahim
Anwar was the ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad’s deputy in the 1990s. Tensions rose between the two over economic policy when Malaysia was hit by the East Asian financial crisis in 1997. In September 1998, Anwar was suspended and arrested over allegations of sexual misconduct. The trial which followed, in 1999, led a six-year jail term for corruption. In 2000, he was sentenced for a further nine years for sodomy, to be served concurrently with his other sentence.
On 2nd September 2004, the Federal Court reversed the second conviction, and Anwar was released from prison. Meanwhile, after the arrest of Anwar, his supporters initiated the Movement of Political Reformation. And subsequently the political party of PKR was formed. The wife of Anwar, Wan Aziza Wan Ismail, was elected the president of the party. PKR has won 5 seats in Parliament in 1999, but has reduced to only 1 seat in 2004. As a result, Political analysts have viewed Anwar as irrelevant for the 12th GE. But Malaysians were stunned by Anwar’s achievement when PKR candidates topped the seats against their political partners – PKR 31,DAP 28, and PAS 23.
In fact, the public at large is more sensitive than the political elites over the winds of change which favored the Oppositions. Political rallies by the Oppositions were thronged with people as compared to poor responses for BN. These were telltale signs of an impending omen to BN. With his charisma, Anwar was always a popular speaker to the public. Some other popular speakers were DAP’s spiritual leader Lim Kit Siang who is now 42 years in politics, his son Guan Eng, and Iron Lady Teresa Kok.
Many people believed Anwar was a victim of political persecution that resulted in his imprisonment. He has successfully pulled in multiracial professionals teaming up with him. He vowed to form a fair and transparent government, which would eventually do away with the discriminatory racial and religious policies.
2. A Tainted Electoral System
The Election Commission’s (EC) inclined favoritism towards the ruling coalition is appalling. BN has always controlled the broadcasting and printed media. There have been complaints by voters that either their names have been missing from the electoral rolls, or they were mysteriously transferred to other constituencies, sometimes even miles away from home. The Oppositions have also discovered phantom voters whose identities are questionable. Added to that, many have doubted over the transparency of postal votes by the armies and police.
For the first time in history, EC has imported 2 million Malaysian Ringgits’ worth of indelible ink from India to be used for marking voters’ fingers to prevent repeat voting. But three days before the GE, its chairman Abdul Rashid Abdul Rahman announced that the ink would not be used. The move has cast doubts in the minds of the general public over fraudulent practice.
Malaysia became an international laughing-stalk when she moved to amend the Constitution in order to extend the EC chairman’s retirement age from 65 to 66 years. The amendment was passed in Parliament on 11th December 2007. Abdul Rashid turned 65 on 31st December. In other words, the amendment was a “saved Abdul Rashid” move.
In view of the bias practices by EC in the past GE, Abdul Rashid was termed “unfit to chair EC” by a group of people. On 10th November 2007, a mass rally, BERSIH (clean) Peaceful People’s Gathering, took place in the Dataran Merdeka Kuala Lumpur at 3.00pm to demand for clean and fair elections. BERSIH is a coalition comprising political parties and civil society groups, and drew supporters from all over the country.
3. The Hegemony of UMNO
UMNO is the leader-party in the coalition of BN. UMNO, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), and Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) are three main parties representing their respective races. During the first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman’s tenure in office, presidents of the three parties used to cooperate with each other in equal negotiations over welfares of their own people.
But as times passed, UMNO has become more and more arrogant, and the issue of Malay-special-privilege has taken first precedence in its agenda. As such the positions of MCA and MIC are threatened. During the UMNO General Assembly two years ago, inappropriate actions were made by some delegates. UMNO Youth president Hishammuddin Hussein wielded a keris (Malay sword). Perlis delegate Hashim Suboh asked him, “Datuk Hisham has unsheathed his keris, waved his keris, kissed his keris. We want to ask Datuk Hisham, whenis he going to use it?” The son-in-law of Abdullah Badawi, Khairy Jamaluddin, is another racist who has brought out sensitive racial issues in the Assembly.
3.1. Every Race is a True Malaysian
What did MCA and MIC do? A non-painful rebuke! They could not get UMNO to have these people punished. And last year at UMNO General Assembly, again Hishammuddin repeated his keris-wielding feat. Therefore it was not surprising that MCA lost 25 seats in Parliament out of the 40 seats contested, and whereas MIC lost 6 out of 9 seats.
MCA and MIC were always proud to employ the method of “internal negotiation”. But the depriving states of Chinese and Indians have proven the leadership wrong when their folks’ rights were being overlooked. MCA under the leadership of Ong Ka Ting was embarrassed when UMNO rejected his petitions over the needs of Chinese. He was forced to compromise and when he was asked by UMNO to retract them.
After 50 years as a sovereign state, Malaysians are still being segregated into Bumiputras (sons of the soil) and Non-Bumiputras. The former are referred to the Malays, Orang Asli (original natives) and native Sarawakans and Sabahans, whereas the latter for other races. We will see the demise of MCA and MIC in the next 5 to 10 years if they do not restrain UMNO from radical behavior. In their rallies, the Oppositions have called upon voters to crush the hegemony of UMNO in order to bring about a fair society for all races. Radical leaders from UMNO have caused the downfall of their party. The votefor- change showed that Malaysians wanted to completely integrate into one family, and every race is a true Malaysian.
Samy Vellu has posed many problems to his Indian community. The longer he stays in power, the sooner MIC will decline. He suffered a defeat at the Sungai Siput parliamentary constituency. Indians are the most deprived population in the country both financially and educationally. Samy was the longest-serving politician in government until his defeat, even Mahathir could only rank next to him. Mahathir agreed that Samy was to blame for the Indians’ plights. He revealed that Samy had never brought to his attention about his people’s problems. Mahathir was partly correct, because I see that the hegemony of UMNO is the main cause for the marginalization of the Indians. UMNO is the big brother in BN, and when they got powerful their focus in treating all partners fairly has drifted off-course.
3.2. The Hindraf
In struggling for survival, five lawyers formed the Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) and 30,000 people staged protests at Ampang Road in Kuala Lumpur on 25th November last year, and some at Batu Caves, a site of religious significance for the Hindus. The police dispersed them with chemical treated water-canons and tear gas. Subsequently five leaders of this group were arrested and put to jail under the Internal Security Act (detentions without trial).
4. An Increase in Young Voters
In this GE, there are 5 million eligible voters have never registered themselves. This time around there was a significant increase in young voters. Traditionally, the Malays would support BN. But the big losses by BN indicated Malays’ swing to the Oppositions. The young Malay generation takes a more liberal stand towards politics. They do not want their lives being reined by the dogmatic policies of UMNO. When they voted for a change, they are in fact voting for their own welfares in the many years ahead.
Even young Malays abhorred the New Economic Policy (NEP) which was first introduced in 1970 and is still continued today. NEP is a policy which gives the Malays special privileges. Young Malays accepted the fact that NEP was being abused by certain leaders. As a result these leaders practiced cronyism and nepotism that led to corruption. Many young Malays received high educations overseas. It is an insult to them if the government were to give them a walking stick, and forever wanting them to rely on it. The new generation is happy to see meritocracy to replace NEP. Anwar has been calling for the abolishment of the discriminatory NEP since 2005.
Resorting to modern technology has also contributed to the swing of votes to the Oppositions. Youngsters preferred to read from the internet than from newspapers. Newspapers in Malaysia are subject to renewal for their licenses annually. With this harsh rule newspapers tend to be pro-government. Thus readers may not read about true facts. On the other hand, there are stuffs in the internet which newspapers will always afraid to publish. People made use of multimedia tools, mobile-phones and emails which sent messages in seconds. The young age group was adept at this. For example, when a DAP campaign rally in Penang was packed with a crowd of 50,000 people, news spread through SMSes like wild fire. They used multimedia tools extensively for cyber-campaign.
The Opposition candidates made full use of cyber-campaign. It was circumstances that have forced them to resort to such means since the media were pro-BN. 13.5 million Malaysians are using internet. There are about 700 million blogs worldwide, and definitely there are hundreds of bloggers within and outside the country who linked themselves up with the candidates’ sites. And thus the candidates’ messages spread. Whereas on the other hand, BN candidates were too shortsighted!
They were too complacent because they used to rely on the broadcasting and printed media. Now Abdullah expressed regret that he had overlooked the importance of cyber-campaign and cyberwar.
He has no excuse. The government has launched the Multimedia Super-Corridor for over 10 years now, why are so many BN ministers still so outdated in cyber technology? Yes, presently the young generation does not seem to be politically oriented at all, but times may change that they do. Could you imagine what will happen in the next GE when millions of emerging generation will become voters? Nevertheless the PM should not divert people’s attention by blaming on overlooking of cyber-war. It was the continuous rotting integrities that made people reject BN.
5. Low Quality Members of Parliament
For 50 years, there was no improvement in the quality of Members of Parliament (MP). Instead of making justice and truth the highest priority, MPs made politics the highest. And subsequently their debates were extremely politics. Many MPs, in the process of debates, act as if they were doing some performances. That was why some MPs made remarks that brought insults to women and races of minority. Whenever MPs made mistakes, ironically we would always see MPs from the Oppositions being disciplined, but never the BN MPs.
The Parliament is a place where justice and truth must always be enhanced. Unfortunately, the MPs viewed the welfare of their own parties more important than anything else. Especially for BN, MPs from the coalition were not allowed to voice out anything which is against their policies though they knew that people’s welfares were denied if they remained quiet. Very often, the Oppositions were denied the rights to debate on certain issues which would bring embarrassment to the government. How people wished that there are some reforms to be introduced in Parliament. Whether the MPs are from the ruling or opposition parties, they should be given freedom of speech. People have already come to a state of spiritual awakening. The outcome of this GE speaks louder than words. They wanted the Parliament House to be a House of Justice!
6. Deterioration of Judiciary
Since the court case in 1987, when Kuala Lumpur High Court declared that UMNO was an unlawful society, and subsequently the Lord President Salleh Abas was being suspended by Mahathir in 1988, the Malaysian Judiciary was constantly deteriorating.1)Article: Administration of justice-crisis in the judiciary Read Here
The recent VK Lingam-tape scandal was indeed a mockery to our judiciary. The senior lawyer, Lingam, was caught red-handed by a video camera for making conversation with the former Chief Justice Ahmad Fairuz Sheik Abdul Halim (retired on 1st November 2007). The tape showed that Lingam was fixing lawyers for the posts of senior judges. During The Royal Commission trial, Lingam’s ex-secretary Jayanthi revealed that he dictated to her a draft judgment for a High Court judge.
In view of the ever deteriorating Judiciary in our country, the Malaysian Bar Council has organized a “Walk for Justice” protest march on 26th September last year. “Lawyers don’t walk everyday. Not even every month. But when they walk, then something must be very wrong,” said Chairman of the Bar Council Ambiga Sreenevasan when addressing a strong crowd of more than 2,000 members of the Malaysian Bar and some concerned citizens at the Palace of Justice before the commencement of the walk to the Prime Minister’s office to hand over the Bar’s memorandum urging the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to probe the state of judiciary and memorandum on the establishment of a judicial appointments and promotion commission.2)Article: Walk for Justice – When Lawyers Walk Something Must Be Very Wrong. Read Here
There have been cases which involved prominent figures being closed without follow-ups. To many Malaysians, they have lost faith in their Judiciary. The Lingam-tape scandal was definitely one of the factors that caused the downturn to BN. In the new cabinet line-up, Mohamad Zaid Ibrahim is made a Minister in the PM’s Department in-charge of legal matters. He suggested that the government should apologize to Salleh Abas. But DAP MP Karpal Singh in an open letter to Mahathir says, “It is not the present government which yourself personally.” I hope that Zaid should apologize too because when he was the chairman of Association of Muslim Lawyers he supported the government’s move. The general public wanted Zaid to bring about independence of Judiciary and not a mere public apology.
7. Erosion of Human Rights
The Constitution was drafted by consensus between the British and the three major race groups granting status of Independence to Malaya in 1957. It safeguards the individual’s rights to all citizens.
Unfortunately, the people in authority have abused it over the past 50 years of ruling. According to constitutional scholar Shad Saleem Faruqi, the Constitution has been amended 42 times over the 48 years since independence as of 2005.3)Wiki Encyclopedia: Frequency of Constitutional Amendments Read Here. However, as several amendments were made each time, he estimates the true number of individual amendments is around 650. He has stated that “there is no doubt” that “the spirit of the original document has been diluted”. The American Constitution, it’s been amended only about 30 times in 230 years.
What is the criterion for amending the Constitution? You must have a two-thirds majority votes in Parliament. The Internal Security Act (ISA) was introduced in 1960. Its predecessor was the Emergency Regulation. ISA was solely used against the Communists. Unfortunately, years after the demise of Communism in Malaysia, the authority is still reluctant to abolish it.
We have three Acts which are detrimental to political dissent and public debate, namely the ISA, the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1948 (amended in 1988), and the Sedition Act 1948 (amended in 1970). The ISA is indeed undermining human rights as well as contradictory to the Constitution. The power given to the Minister of Home Affairs under the ISA is very wide which could override an individual’s constitutional rights.
In 1999 the government established a National Commission of Human Rights. It comprises retired politicians, judges, social scientists, and professionals. It has lack of independence with such a line-up. The members are appointed by the King on recommendation by the PM. The term of office is two years. NGOs in Malaysia are calling the government to adopt the UN Human Rights Charter.
The detention of the five Hindraf leaders proved fatal to Abdullah Badawi’s coalition in the 12th GE. In the past, Indians were known for faithful supporters of BN. Using ISA to suppress the cries of people was a bad art-of-war. BN almost lost all its Indian votes! All races shouted “Makkal Sakthi” (“People Power” in Tamil) during the Oppositions’ campaign rallies. Now the outcome of the GE has conveyed a message to PM Pak Lah, that it is time to heal the wound by listening to the Indians. He should release the five leaders immediately and unconditionally.
The rise in influence by PAS in the 1970s has also posed threats to the Constitution. In order to dilute the threats by PAS, UMNO invited her to join the Alliance in 1973. As PAS adopts a different Islamic philosophy from UMNO’s, and it was later expelled from the ruling coalition in November 1977. The ultimate goal of PAS is to set up an Islamic State for the country. PAS ruled Kelantan for five consecutive terms since 1990. It captured Terengganu in 1999 but BN got it back in 2004. This time around PAS takes control of Kelantan and Kedah.
7.1. Islamization of Judicial System
In order to counteract PAS’ ever expanding radical Islamic ideology, Mahathir, during his tenure in PM office, has claimed that Malaysia was an Islamic State. His claim has drawn strong objections from the non- Muslims. Islamization of the country’s Judicial System was a concept which has been raised from time to time, both by PAS and UMNO. Since UMNO introduced an amendment to the Constitution in 1988 (Article 121 A), Civil Courts have no power to interfere in any area covered by the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts (Islamic Court exercising laws based on Koran teaching). Ever since the Constitution was amended to facilitate the setting up of the Syariah Courts, non- Muslims was getting disquiet. To prove this, let us look at the 10th GE in 1999. DAP had misread the minds of the Chinese when they decided to link up with PAS. DAP joined up with PAS and PKR to form the Alternate Front in combating BN. The Chinese voters taught DAP a lesson and thus it lost disastrously!
Problems arise when we have two sets of Courts, the Civil Courts and the Syariah Courts. Does a Civil Court have the jurisdiction over Islamic matters? The irony is that we have seen cases where non- Muslims were asked to seek justice from a Syariah Court. Have the Syariah Courts power to overruled the jurisdictions of Civil Courts? Unfortunately, both the Civil and Syariah Courts sometimes even could override the Constitution.
7.2. The Plight of Lina Joy
Take an example about Lina Joy’s case. She was born a Muslim with the name Azlina Jailani. She became a Christian in 1990. In 1998 she was baptized and had her conversion legally recognized by the Malaysian courts. In 1999 she had her name changed and noted in her Identity Card. But she could not get the name “Islam” removed from her IC. This must be done because she wanted to get married with her Christian boy-friend. Her appeal to the Federal Court was dismissed 2- 1 on 30th May 2007. She was asked to appeal at the Syariah Court. Since her conversion was recognized, why could not she be treated as a Christian then? Chief Judge Richard Malanjun who voted for Lina described the rejection on her appeal as discriminatory and unconstitutional.
We have 13 states and each state has its own State Constitution and State Laws. Article 11 of the Federal Constitution provides for freedom to profess and practice one’s religion. But the article is subject to State Laws which disallow proselytization for Muslims. Should not the Federal Constitution be above all laws? Will Malaysia come to the day that we will have one law and equal rights for all citizens?
8. Non-transparent Policies
Mahathir reigned for 22 years. During his era government projects were non-transparent. Instead of going into an open-tender system, practicing cronyism and nepotism by officials was something not uncommon. Operations through proxies may have evaded troubles. This has resulted in corruptions. Seeking approvals from government offices for jobs done was a tedious thing. It was red-tapes that have provided the opportunities for corruptions. After Mahathir’s retirement, as he looked back, he expressed regret that he had only managed to make a handful of successful Malays. Majority of the Malays are still very poor. He thought he should have widened the scope of opportunities to bless more Malays.
The road projects were one of the examples of non-transparent policies. Since 1980s, the government was not willing to bear the cost of constructing and maintaining new roads and highways. The projects were privatized. Road users have to pay a substantial sum for road-toll charges. Samy Vellu once claimed that very soon Malaysia will have 200 odd tolled roads all over the country. Malaysia is a small country with a population of 27 million. Yet we will soon have the most number of tolled roads in the world. The contracts made between the government and road companies allowed the latter to review tolls every three years or so. Otherwise the government has to compensate them. This is an evidence of unwise moves when policies are not transparent. Toll charges have become a great burden to people.
Petronas, the Malaysian Petroleum Corporate Company, generate tons of income annually. With price of crude oil shot over US100.00 per barrel, Petronas would make 90 billion Ringgits per annum. The operations of Petronas are not transparent. Malaysia is a very rich country. But unfortunately the government has dispersed the fund into the wrong channel. Is it too much to demand from the government that Petronas profits be used for the construction of roads and bridges?
Defective buildings and roads often occurred which had cost the taxpayers’ money. People were doubtful as to why these projects that cost millions and billions of Ringgits could get shoddy jobs. Calls by the Oppositions to have those projects investigated were always ignored. The Minister of Defense Najib Abdul Razak made unnecessary purchases for the country. Billions of Ringgits were spent on submarines, war-crafts, jet-fighters, and other weapons. And after many years, some of these items are still “undelivered”. Many also criticized Najib for sending an “astronaut” into space. The money spent was enough to provide low-cost housing for 3,500 families! Why is our elected representative so proud of building monuments?
8.1. Building Monuments
From government departments to Royal Malaysian Police Forces, corruptions were rampant. When Abdullah took over the office as PM, at the beginning of his term he vowed to clean up corruption. He was given a nickname of “Mr. Clean”. People put high hopes in him. That was why he was given a mandate to lead Malaysia towards a cleaner society in the 2004. BN won 89.5% majority in seats. Abdullah vowed to catch 18 “sharks”. But to the disappointment of the people, his promise was unfulfilled during his 4-year-term. Only some small fish were dealt with by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA). His unfulfilled promise has become a issue for the Oppositions during their rallies.
By the way, people have no confidence in the credibility of ACA, because it was not granted with an independent power. In the VK Lingam-tape scandal, Lingam’s ex-secretary Jayanthi told the Royal Commission that an ACA official had informed her in 1998 that the corruption case was closed because ‘too many high profile officials are involved’. She was also given RM3000 by ACA which she accepted. ACA is answerable to the Prime Minister. Lim Kit Siang wanted to make reforms to the Parliament. One of it is to make ACA answerable only to the Parliament.
9. Racial Politics and Religious Prejudices
The outcome of the 12th GE revealed that voters are getting more mature. They abhorred racial politics. All these while, the people thought that racial politics will ensure that the Malays are not marginalized. The reality is that racial politics is hurting the country and the people at large whilst only a handful of the UMNO people will command power and status. BN was very confident during the campaign period that the Malays will support UMNO, the Chinese will support MCA and the Indians will support MIC. But it was a shock to BN especially to UMNO that Malay votes have swung to the Oppositions. Traditionally in multiple-raced constituencies, Malay votes always played the role of enhancing BN victory because of their high population as well as UMNO being contesting in majority of the seats.
Though BN comprises 14 parties, UMNO will always dominate over decisions making. UMNO is a Malay-based party. Due to bias decisions by UMNO, the non-Malay coalition parties may not get the benefits that are rightfully there. For example, many bright students have no chance to get into public universities or unable to get scholarship funds. In religion wise, State Laws and administrative action have made inroads into the freedom of religion. It is difficult for Buddhists and Hindus to get approval for their temples, and Christians their churches because of planning restrictions. These people have to resort to worship at residences and shop-lots. When Malaysians are fighting for democracy, freedom of religion is one of the basic aspects. And that must include freedom of leaving a religion.
I hope UMNO, MCA and MIC are awakened by the outcome of the poll. UMNO should not contemplate going deeper into Malay-agenda, neither nor MCA into Chinese-agenda, and nor MIC into Indian-agenda. 49% ballots spoke up that people abhorred racial politics. The three parties should extend their scope in embracing multiple races.
9.1. Controversy of the word “Allah”
Non-Muslims feel their rights are being eroded by a rise in Islamic fervor. They are concerned about the overzealous Muslim bureaucrats in UMNO-led government. Several recent events illustrate growing religious tension in Malaysia. Hindu temples and an Orang Asli church were demolished. A Malaysian Catholic weekly newspaper, The Herald, sued the government over banning Catholics from using the word“Allah” in the Malay version. Father Lawrence Andrew told Agence France-Presse (AFP), “We’re in the view that we have the right to use the word “Allah”, (a right) which…is now sought to be curtailed.”
The government argued that the word “Allah” should not be used by religious communities other than Muslims. The Sabah Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) or the Evangelical Church of Borneo Pastor, Jerry Dusing, also filed a separate lawsuit against the government over three boxes of children education materials being confiscated by authorities from a church member. The officials argued that the confiscated materials contain the word “Allah”. In fact the Christian usage of “Allah” predates Islam. “Allah” is an Arabic word for “God”.
The Dewan dan Pustaka Malaysia or The Institute of Language and Literature Malaysia has incorporated the word “Allah” into the Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian Language) dictionary. Then, all Malaysians should have the right to use their national language! The latest fiasco was when thirty-two Bibles were confiscated by customs officials from a Malaysian Christian on her way back from the Philippines on 28th January. The authorities returned her the Bibles after interventions.
Now we see that Malays supported DAP (though a multiracial party, it is in fact more of Chinese-based), Chinese supported PAS, a party they used to dread as they were afraid of her Hudud and Syariah Laws, and Indians who used to be faithful to BN have now defected. PKR is a real multi-racial party indeed. Her spiritual leader Anwar, who vowed to end racial politics and religious intolerance, has won the support of all races. PAS could manage to get the support from three races after tuning down her campaign manifesto. It used to be targeting an Islamic State, but now Welfare State instead – A Nation of Care and Opportunity. What was the wind of change? It was the prolonged endurance of injustices, that when they no longer bear, they shouted,“Enough is enough!”
If DAP and PKR could work along with PAS, UMNO thought that it could do so also. But PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang expressed that he will not work with UMNO as both parties differed in political ideologies. Christians should pray that both parties would not embrace radical Islam.
A Political Tsunami or A Political New Wave?
The dramatic losses gained by BN were described by some commentators as a “political tsunami”. Instead I would think a better description should be a “political new wave”. A tsunami is destructive in nature, and whereas a wave is a smooth replacement of a wave ahead of it. Today Barisan Rakyat governs Penang, Perak and Selangor, and the three races could share power in high posts. They vowed to govern the states fairly and transparently to all. If the outcome that has anything destructive, it was the start of destruction on the whole country’s institution of anti-democracy. The outcome was a new wave initiated by the wind of the Holy Spirit. This is the first wave of change.
Other waves are yet to come. Remember, many great men and women of God had prophesied about a Major Change to Malaysia. God has His timing in sweeping across the nation a series of waves.
Most Christians in Malaysia are patriotic. We have been praying hard for our country. “Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8). How God wished that politicians who are elected, whether they are from the ruling or opposition coalition, to embrace truth, honor, justice, purity, love, commendable virtue, excellent virtue, and praiseworthy virtue. No leaders are above God. “The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1). “The king’s (prime minister’s, premiers, presidents, etc) heart is in the hand of the LORD, He directs it with a watercourse wherever He pleases.” (Proverbs 21:1).
“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” (Proverbs 14:34). We trust that God will help the people in authority to move into righteousness. Even though those in new leadership claim that they would govern fairly and transparently, we are not to put our faith in men. The Bibles says that “The heart is deceitful above all things, and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). One day these clean politicians may fall into temptations. Even at this juncture, some MPs and State Assembly men/women are contemplating switching nests. Defection is an act which betrays the will of the voters. Ask the Holy Spirit to put the fear of God in the hearts of those elected. Politicians can never do great things unless they walk in the will of God. “Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders build in vain. Unless the LORD watches the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.” (Psalm 127:1).
Malaysia in a Strategic Location Geographically
A “new wave” speaks of a “new opportunity”. Christians, do not miss the new wave, ride on it. Malaysia stands at a strategic location geographically. Do you know why God put the three main races in this country, and why Malaysians speak three languages – Malay (similar to Indonesia), Chinese and Tamil/Hindi? Just look at the three huge countries around us – Indonesia in the South, India in the West, and China in the North.
God will bring about a speedy change in Malaysia. As such Christians have no excuse not to be politically oriented. We should be concerned about the country’s political development, because when there is concern, there is checking on the government. When the people are checking on the government, then the government will be serious to our needs. There is only one way to break the chains and shackles on our nation – PRAY! “If My people who are called by My name humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14). There is the only way of praying that Christians could humble themselves, that is get on their knees and bow before. If the Muslims could bow five times a day before their Allah, why cannot the Christians? Come to God on bended knees is the most effective way of praying.
ALLEN TAN is a Feature Writer for two Malaysian Chinese Dailies, And an Author of the book, Garden of Joyful Marriage. Source: The Star, Malaysia
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