KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 18 — The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) has taken an unprecedented step to release a bilingual video message ahead of the 15th general election tomorrow.
Addressing all Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals, nine senior church leaders of the three main branches of Christianity in the country exhorted the congregation to go all out to vote on November 19 come “rain or shine”.
“This coming general election is an acid test for us. It is also a wake-up call for us to fulfil our right and responsibility as citizens of this nation.
“So, my friends, rain or shine, we must come out to vote: For a better nation, a better future and for the sake of our children and our children’s children,” said John Wong, the Catholic archbishop of Kota Kinabalu and vice-president of the Sabah Council of Churches.
The senior clergymen did not mention the name of any political party or its leaders in their reminder to Malaysians.
Instead, they called on Malaysian voters to base their decisions on their hopes for future generations, access to education, environmental sustainability, and a corruption-free government.
“With this coming GE15, know your candidates in your constituency.
“Evaluate whether their actions benefit the vulnerable, elderly and the poor,” said Simon Poh, the Catholic archbishop of Kuching who is also chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak and one of the vice-chairmen in CFM.
CFM chairman Philip Thomas who heads the Council of Churches of Malaysia — representing the Protestant denomination in the country — summed up the message with citations from the Bible.
“Therefore it is our responsibility to choose wisely our political leaders as this is our sacred duty in nation-building,” the cor episcopa of the Orthodox Syrian church said.
The senior clergymen called on Malaysian voters to base their decisions on their hopes for future generations, access to education, environmental sustainability, and a corruption-free government. — Picture by Hari Anggara
The other senior clergymen who spoke in the video were: Kuala Lumpur Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim; Anglican Bishop of Kuching Datuk Danald Jute; Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia Steven Abarrow; Methodist Bishop T. Jeyakumar; Evangelical Bishop of the Assemblies of God Ong Sek Leang; and chairman of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) Eu Hong Seng.
T. Jeyakumar was the only clergyman who spoke in Bahasa Malaysia and expressed his wish to see increased funding for mission schools in Malaysia, though subtitles in both English and the national language were provided in the video.
BM is widely used in masses and church service in Borneo Malaysia with its diverse indigenous Christian population and among the Orang Asli Christians in the peninsula.
The clip of just over seven minutes, was uploaded to YouTube yesterday on the video-sharing account of the Archdiocese of Kuala Lumpur where it has garnered over 2,900 views at the time of writing.
It has also been posted on the YouTube page of NCEF Malaysia.
CFM is the umbrella group representing more than 90 per cent of the churches in Malaysia, according to information on its official site.
Christians represent 9.2 per cent of the population in Malaysia, according to most recent data from the Department of Statistics as of October 3 this year.