Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In God We Trust of In Government We Trust?

At Sibu Parliamentary Seat by-election, PM Najib made a grant of RM1.75 million to four Methodist Churches, they were:
En Tao Methodist Church, RM500,000
Tien Tao Methodist Church, RM500,000
Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church RM400,000
Hwai Ang Tong Methodist Church RM350,000

Prime Minister Najib was desperate to clean-sweep all by-elections when he made his way to campaign personally. He just had a good time in USA meeting with President Barack Obama. So sailing on that glory he campaigned confidently in Ulu Selangor. BN won by a majority of 1725 votes. But it was not Barisan Nasional's "excellent" policies that resulted in the victory. Instead it was money politics. It was estimated that he pumped into the constituency a hefty RM170 million. Many of the BN promises are yet to fulfill.

With the victory in Ulu Selangor, he was convinced that the bribery-election is always a magic that worked and would work again, this time round, in Sibu. He found out that more than half of the voters in Sibu were Christians. He also found out that the Christians were inclined to support DAP.

So Najib resorted to please the Christians, especially the Chinese Christians. And he made a grant of RM1.7 million to 4 Methodist Churches. I was disappointed that the Churches accepted the money!

Our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion for all citizens. As such, the government is obliged to be fair in making grants to all religious bodies. Sad to say that it was not true. Churches in Malaysia are self-survived! Some Churches did sometimes receive grants from the Government, but it was only a handful of them.

Why were the 4 Methodist Churches given the grant out of the blues? The money was not a regular allocation. It happened, simply because a by-election was taking place at the town where the Churches were located. So Najib's message had an implication - Isn't the BN Government cared for the Churches? So please vote BN as a returned favor. Or if you don't feel comfortable to reject us, don't vote, just stay at home. Yes, the grants were not money from UMNO or BN. They were taken from the treasury.

It was absolutely wrong to use public funds to achieve a party's goal. I hope that Christians in future elections will go to the poll to vote for justice. We should not be moved with sweet goodies along the way, be they from BN or Pakatan Rakyat (PR). We pray for the dawning of a better Malaysia which is free from corruption, injustice, rotten judiciary, racial prejudice, religious prejudice, manipulations of Government Institutions like the Police Force and Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission.

Accepting the money would mean that our God no more important. We don't want to inherit the spirit of Esau. Esau sold his first-born right with a mere bowl of red bean soup. Should Churches sell away our right to vote for a better future for our next generations with earthly bribes?

Christians, just ask ourselves, do we practice "In God We Trust" or "In Government We Trust"? If we put our faith in the earthly institutions, God won't work! I know that many Churches need a lot of funds to run their institutions. Nevertheless we should always turn our eyes upon Jesus Christ. I pray that Christians will not depart from faith in God. Sometimes it can happen even through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared.

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