A generation of Malaysians have lost their trust in Putrajaya, says Anglican bishop


by Jennifer Gomez
The Malaysian Insider
10 June 2014

Malaysia is “losing a generation” that no longer trusts the government, authorities and even each other, given the current trend of religious extremism, says Anglican Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing.

Ng, the newly minted president of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), said his greatest fear for Malaysia is a societal break-up due to hate speeches, racial hatred and religious extremism that is not being monitored.

“This nation has begun to lose a generation of people who no longer trust the government, the authorities, the elders, the religious leaders, and more so each other,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

Ng said trust and confidence in Putrajaya have plunged to its lowest level with unresolved issues affecting Malaysia’s multi-religious society, including the seizure of Bibles and the controversy over the use of the word “Allah” by Christians.

Racial and religious tensions took a turn for the worse at the start of the year when the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided the society’s premises in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya on January 2, before carting away 321 Bibles in Malay and Iban languages.

Last month, a seminar on Christology was held at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM), where several speakers warned Muslims of the threat of Christianisation, and of undercover priests sent to Malaysia under different guises to proselytise Muslims.

Ng, the former Christian Federation of Malaysia president, said his fear was that if authorities did not put a stop to hate speeches and instigation, the “tear will go beyond repair”.

Until today, Jais, the Selangor state government, the Attorney-General and Putrajaya have been mum on the seized Bibles or why they were not returned.

Ng expressed regret that the incident took place despite promises made by two prime ministers, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Najib Razak, that BSM was free to bring in Malay Bibles and distribute it among Christians.

During Dr Mahathir’s era, BSM was allowed to import and distribute Bibles to Christians for use in churches and Christian homes.

This was reaffirmed in Putrajaya’s 10-point solution agreed by the Najib administration..

“However overnight, all these promises have gone to nothing.

“It only shows that there is no will in the Selangor state government and in Putrajaya to solve this issue which was first started by them,” said Ng, who heads the Anglican Diocese of West Malaysia.

He said the racial and religious tensions in Malaysia started some time ago when those in power decided to compromise their integrity and moderation with greed and the desire to stay in power at all costs.

“These tensions we see now did not start overnight, it began when the people in power compromised their integrity, true faith, moderation, rationality, peaceful and harmonious co-existence, with self gain, greed, self fame, the idea of staying in power in the name of economic progress, development, education, preservation of race, language and creed.

“All religions have become a toy of politics which has been politicised and manipulated by many politicians,” he added.

As such, Ng said that apart from Christianity, the nation was under threat given extremist elements whose main agenda was to destroy the “muhibbah” (harmony) in the country for their own selfish gain.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q. What is your greatest concern for Malaysia today in light of recent incidents which have heightened racial and religious tensions?

A. My greatest fear is a societal break-up due to non-monitored hate speeches, racial hatred and religious extremism. This nation has begun to lose one generation of people who no longer trust the government, the authorities, the elders, the religious leaders, and more so each other Malaysian. If the authorities do not put a stop to such extremism and hate speeches and instigation as soon as possible and at the same time instill harmonious, peaceful, just and fair living, I fear the tear will come to a stage that is beyond repair.

Q. Is Christianity under threat in Malaysia. Why do you say so?

A. I don’t think Christianity alone is under threat instead Malaysia as a whole is under threat. I mean the original Malaysia of 1963 is being blackmailed by a few groups of extremists. Their agenda is to destroy the muhibbah Malaysia for their own selfish gain.

Q. What was your greatest challenge during your term as CFM president from 2009 until 2013? What were the main concerns for CFM then? Did you manage to solve any issues affecteing Christians/ Christianity?

A. I don’t think me or CFM alone can solve any issue affecting Christians or Christianity. The issues we faced before, during and after my term in CFM, are similar as those faced by other religious groups such as the Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Taoists – i.e., religions have become a toy of politics which have also been politicised and manipulated by many politicians.

Q. What do you envisage your challenge will be as you head BSM during this time when the issue of the seized Bibles remains unresolved?

A. As long as the seized Bibles and all the other related issues such as the usage of the word “Allah” and the raiding of religious places are unresolved, I don’t see how the level of trust and confidence in the authorities and government by the grassroots can improve. It has gone to its lowest level now.

Q. Do you think talking to the authorities, i.e., the minister in charge of Islam, national unity, or the home minister, is a lost cause? Has this avenue been exhausted in the first place?

A. The CFM has been dragged into dialogues after dialogues, meetings after meetings and in the end everyone pushes to everyone and no one wants to be the “bad” guy to make good the wrong.

Q. Is BSM still importing Malay Bibles?

A. In a situation like this, would you still want to import Bibles? Having said this, import or no import, the Bible is already in the net and anyone, anywhere can download or just read it online.

Q. What is your greatest concern about the seized Bibles? Are they destroyed? Desecrated?

A. We hope the seized Bibles will be read by the people who are keeping them.

Q. What is your advice to Christians as we face Christian-bashing and various forms of persecution, including accusations of trying to proselytise among Muslims? Do they always have to turn the other cheek?

A. There is a time for everything, the Bible teaches us. There is a time for turning the other cheek; there is a also a time for “taking the bull by its horn”; there is also a time for dialogues; there is also a time for seeking a win-win situation through understanding and sharing together.

Q. From the time you started off with mission work, do you remember tensions among races and religions being as bad as they are now?

A. All these did not start overnight, it began when the people in power compromised their integrity, true faith, moderation, rationality, peaceful and harmonious co-existence with self gain, greed, self fame, idea of staying in power in the name of economic progress, development, education, preservation of race, language and creed. – June 10, 2014.

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  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 9:03 am

    Religion? They don’t trust them with GST, water tariffs, power tariffs, highway toll, traffic fines, Proton, judges, education, medical care, even their properties in Johor now apparently..

    UMNO/BN wasted the people trust for their own greed, dependencies on power abuse, ignorance. They not only wasted money, they wasted social capital and human resource potential and opportunities.

    The real question is what is there to trust?

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 9:51 am

    It is just too much with bride (suspected to be a Muslim) taken away on wedding day and dead body removed from funeral ceremony by Islamic religious authorities.

  3. #3 by DAP man on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 10:22 am

    The bishop should speak to all the Christian Judases from Sarawak and Sabah who are in the government. They close their eyes to all these abuses. They are equally responsible for the current state of affairs.

  4. #4 by Noble House on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 10:44 am

    Malaysians no longer trust their government? Right? Bloody well right!

  5. #5 by Bigjoe on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 1:04 pm

    Like it or not. What matters most is whether Sarawakians and Sabahan loses their trust in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. Sarawakians better not believe a word of Adenan Satem and their promises. Kuching’s corruption guarantees defenses will fall against Perkasa and ISMA eventual spread into their state just as Sabah is already a colony. Adenan Satem promises and moves means nothing as much as Jeffrey Kitingan protests and complains..

  6. #6 by omeqiu on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 3:59 pm

    How do you know how many youths voted BN in the last GE?

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 - 7:32 pm

  8. #8 by bush on Friday, 13 June 2014 - 1:56 pm

    ever in the history of any country has a government been as hypocritical, deceptive, dishonest and destructive as this government in question.

    Which country has had only one political party in government for more than half a century?

    Which country allows the government to use public funds for political purposes?

    Which country uses the Police to beat up peaceful protestors and corner them when they have already dispersed?

    Which country has a Prime Minister linked to murder?

    Which country has a Prime Minister linked to corruption and his colleagues don’t bother?

    Which country uses Islam as a political tool to destroy other Muslims?

    Which country practices racial discrimination in its policies like South Africa?

    Which country gives money to the rich to buy houses cheaper because of their race?

    Which country gives money to ministers so they get very rich while the poor suffer?

    Which country punishes honest former top Custom and Police officers who whistleblow?

    Which country allows its government to rob the poor and fill the pockets of the rich by unreasonable road tolls?

    Which country bails out cronies in business with public money into billions of ringgit?

    Which country forces religion down people’s throats while the political leaders live in sin?

    Which country has an anti-corruption agency accused of murder?

    Which country has a police system that sees so many Indian youths die in police lock-ups?

    Which country has former soldiers take part in politics and act like thugs against a clean and honest lady?

    Which country has a ‘First Lady’ who spends the people’s money when the country does not even have a president?

    Which country builds a costly palace when many people do not have proper housing, water and electricity?

    Which country denies the Opposition time to speak freely yet claims to be the world’s best democracy?

    Which country allows the Police to beat its journalists doing their jobs without mercy?

    Which country forces its young into national youth programmes and see many die in freak accidents?

    Which country has its Prime Minister say something and the DPM disagrees. Remember 1Malaysia and “Aku Melayu”.

    Which country has a Prime Minister who runs away while important things happen in his country?

    Which country allows dirty videos and other slanderous material to be published against others freely?

    Which country has conspired against its Opposition leader in a sex scandal that we know is a conspiracy?

    Which country has a retired Prime Minister and No 1 Ass-Hole who can’t keep his mouth shut and creates disharmony?

    Which country has someone like former Premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad whose word cannot be trusted – who has said he has retired from politics but is still blabbing?

    Which country has a Royal Commission which exposes mismanagement and corruption in the Police force but nothing is done to correct the shortcomings?

    Which country has a Royal Commission to expose judge fixing and yet still no one is charged?

    Which country has the NEP but sees many Malays denied of opportunities because they belong to the wrong political party?

    Which country sees the non-Malays discriminated against and deprived of the constitutional rights while the corrupt take the lion’s share of their prosperity?

    Which country makes a car and sells it at a higher price in the country but charges less for it in other countries?

    Which country sees the people divided into bumiputera and non-bumiputera and practises apartheid policies?

    Which country has gone so backward in its political culture and stays in power by bribing others with money?

    Which country has a farmers’ cooperative and short changes its members not giving them their due money?

    Which country has seen so many abuses of power and yet the government can still stay in power because of electoral irregularities?

    Which country has punished its honest citizens for calling for democracy and clean and fair elections?

    Which country controls all the country’s mainstream media and spreads propaganda?

    Which country punishes media producers who merely want to promote a free country, what’s wrong with that?

    Which country spends money on 1Malaysia but promotes racial hatred and disharmony?

    Which country allows a politician in Sarawak to be filthy rich and rob the natives of their lands and trees?

    Which country allows a politician to spend public money to promote himself overseas?

    Which country has been censured by the BBC for censoring their news we see?

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