Saturday, June 30, 2012

Najib, the only PM in Malaysia that has yet to get the mandate from poll

Yes the people had given the mandate to Barisan Nasional, but they had not given it to Najib Razak as the   Prime Minister. The past 5 PMs had led in polls and won their respective mandates to prove their support from people. How about Najib? It has been longed overdue for holding the rein for more than 3 years.

PM says not avoiding polls

June 30, 2012
Najib said an early election would waste the BN government’s mandate. — File pic
KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak said there was no lack of confidence in the Barisan Nasional (BN) and denied he was deliberately delaying the date of the general election as claimed by the opposition.
The prime minister said the BN was given the mandate by the people for five years to show its ability to lead and govern the country, bring progress and champion the people.
“If we call for a snap elections, it means that we have shortened the period given to us by the people.
“So the question of ‘not confident’ does not arise. For us, what is important is to show our ability to continue to champion the people,” he told reporters after chairing the BN supreme council meeting at the Putra World Trade Centre here, last night.
Najib, who is also Umno president and BN chairman, pointed out that the people had shown good response to transformation programmes implemented by the government.
This can be seen from his and his deputy, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s visits to the states, he said, adding that the support of the people was overwhelming and reflected growing confidence in the BN.
“We cannot be haughty, but our confidence level is based on the people’s reception to our visits and the 1 Malaysia-themed programmes,” he said.
Citing the Government Transformation Programme and the Economic Transformation Programme, he said: “We had delivered them which means (our confidence) is not without any particular assessment.”
Najib also said the programme hinged on engagement with various community groups such as the People’s 1 Malaysia Taxi programme (TR1MA).
In the meantime, he reminded the BN not to raise issues that might hurt the feelings of any race or pose a problem among BN component parties.
Commenting the opposition’s allegation that he had interfered in the Light Rail Transit’s Ampang Line, he said, “Everything is done properly. There’s no such thing.” — Bernama

Wife of City Harvest Founder in the Spotlight

Associated Press
Singaporean pop music singer Ho Yeow Sun, center, arrives at the Subordinate Courts in Singapore.
SINGAPORE – The arrest of five leaders from Singapore’s biggest church this week has thrust the founder’s wife – a singer whose musical career is at the center of the case – into the spotlight after years of moderate local success as a recording artist.
Ho Yeow Sun sold several hundred thousand records in recent years before her husband, who founded the City Harvest Church in Singapore, was arrested for allegedly using church funds to help advance her career. But she never achieved the kind of mainstream success at home that’s been enjoyed by other local artists such as Stefanie Sun and JJ Lin, who sold more albums in Singapore and were celebrated by local officials, including invitations to perform at National Day ceremonies and the Youth Olympic Games there.
Now Ms. Ho is getting lots of new attention in Singapore – albeit not under ideal circumstances. Online traffic to view YouTube clips featuring the artist is surging,
with videos receiving tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of comments over the past two days. Social media sites, meanwhile, are abuzz with debates over the merits of Ms. Ho’s work. Although many viewers, including City Harvest members, have defended her work as a singer, other Singaporeans have blasted her tunes while questioning whether her racy dancing style and dress are appropriate given her stated desire to spread Christianity.
Getty Images
Sun Ho at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in New York, back in November 2009.
The arrests of Ms. Ho’s husband, Kong Hee, and four other executive members of the City Harvest megachurch were the result of a two-year investigation by Singapore’s Commissioner of Charities and the Commercial Affairs Department of the Singapore police. Prosecutors believe that charitable money from the church was used to help launch Ms. Ho’s career, including after she moved to Los Angeles, where she has been trying to build a career recently, without the knowledge of the church’s executive committee. Ms. Ho was not accused of wrongdoing.
The five who were arrested were charged with committing criminal breach of trust. Legal representatives for the accused have not commented on the matter and efforts to reach Ms. Ho and her manager and Mr. Kong have been unsuccessful.
Ms. Ho – better known as Sun Ho or simply “Sun” in the music world – got her start at the church itself, where she served as music pastor. She left the church in 2003 to pursue a musical career, and Mr. Kong and Ms. Ho started the “Crossover Project,” an initiative aimed at using Ms. Ho’s secular music – featuring Mandarin-language songs and dance beats – to reach out to non-Christians. Although her songs didn’t typically include explicitly Christian messages, she continued to sing at the church and tweeted about Christianity to her fans.
Ms. Ho’s initial albums enjoyed some success, selling several hundred thousands of copies. But even then Ms. Ho was accused by some Singapore residents of using church money to boost album sales – something church officials vigorously denied.
With songs distributed by Universal Music and Warner Music, each of which has a large regional presence Asia, Ms. Ho looked to expand her fan base by touring in places like Taiwan and Hong Kong. According to the official website for her Chinese music, some of her songs rose to #1 on the Taiwan MTV charts back in 2007. Efforts to contact the two record companies were unsuccessful, and neither of them currently lists Ms. Ho as a singer they represent on their websites.
Ms. Ho also began spending more time in Los Angeles to launch an English-language musical career, moving there in 2007. She collaborated with Fugees co-founder Wyclef Jean on a popularly-available track, “China Wine,” and released another English song, “Where Did Love Go,” produced by David Foster, who has worked with the likes of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. One of only a few Asian singers to be invited to the Grammy Awards, she featured in a number of videos and interviews in Los Angeles.
Ms. Ho continued making headlines back home, though, with some residents arguing her short skirts and revealing outfits were inappropriate considering her religious mission.
In one song titled “Mr. Bill,” Ms. Ho dances in tight, revealing outfits and talks about killing her fictional husband, Bill, and “sending him to the cemetery” for making her “cook and clean.” In the opening sequence of the music video, she speaks Chinese to the fictional husband while wearing a cropped, oriental-styled top – inviting criticism that she is playing up to Asian stereotypes in a Western market.
Her video for “China Wine” has also been widely shared, featuring Ms. Ho and her dancers gyrating to the music of Wyclef Jean and Elephant Man. The song makes reference to a dance move called “dutty wine” that’s popular in the Caribbean and involves moving one’s hair and hips simultaneously.
Following the high-profile arrest of her husband, YouTube videos of her performances and interviews have received many more “dislikes” on the video-sharing site, though she also has received some support.
“I don’t understand how this song is supposed to send a message to the non-Christians to follow God,” said one YouTube commenter, shadowedmemoire, after viewing “Mr. Bill.” “Do I have to play the song backward or something?” Another blogger named Michelle said Ms. Ho’s lyrics were “insipid” and didn’t have “any discernable lyrical connections with Christian beliefs or morality beyond pedestrian references to love.”
A member of City Harvest Church, though, wrote “I have absolute trust in the fact that none of the money was embezzled for personal gain,” while one of Ms. Ho’s dancers, also a City Harvest member, wrote “I was saved when I was in LA dancing in Sun Ho’s China Wine Music Video.”
Whether the fresh attention will imperil Ms. Ho’s career – or just make her more famous – is still unknown. But even without the charges against her husband, she faces challenges. The bulk of Ms. Ho’s concerts, including those in Singapore, Taiwan and China, were organized by Xtron Productions Pte Ltd., a production house co-owned by two members of City Harvest Church. According to local media reports, prosecutors believe it was one of the conduits through which church funds were misappropriated.
Efforts to reach representatives of Xtron Productions were unsuccessful, as the company ceased operations earlier this month.

Friday, June 29, 2012



  • 康希。
1 of 5
他们被指在2007年8月到2009年6月间,3次挪用教会1千万元、300万元和1千100万元的建堂基金,把总计2千400万元的建堂基金,转到Xtron Productions和PT The First National Glassware这两家公司,製造投资债券的假象,抵触失信条文。

Xtron Productions是何耀珊的艺人管理公司,据《海峡时报》报导,这家公司是由周英汉在2003年创立,为教会提供音响录像器材,也代表教会进行租赁协议事宜。
PT The First National Glassware是一家玻璃装饰公司,由印尼富商教友哈纳菲所开设,哈纳菲的名字也出现在昨天呈堂控状中。

净选盟促纳吉道歉‧ “对付四加亭玲瓏议员”


Najib should apologise for MP's call to hang Ambiga and take disciplinary action

Image: Shamsul Anuar Nasarah

Press Statement, 28. June 2012
The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections 2.0 (BERSIH 2.0) calls on Prime Minister Najib Razak to apologise over the call by two UMNO parliamentarians to have Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan, co-chairperson of BERSIH 2.0, tried and hanged for treason.
The call to have Ambiga hung came from Sri Gading MP Mohamad Aziz at about 9.45pm on June 26 and was enthusiastically supported by Lenggong MP Shamsul Anuar Nasarah.
This was the lowest point of the hate and witchhunt campaign against BERSIH 2.0 leaders which started with burger-and-butt protests in front of Ambiga’s residence.
Mohamad Aziz’s offer today to conditionally withdraw such statement if it “hurt his friends, the Indians, MIC, PPP, and affect the spirit of understanding in Barisan Nasional (BN)” shows his thinly-veiled arrogance despite the outcry nationwide.
Aziz did not even bother to apologise to Ambiga, BERSIH 2.0 and 250,000 Malaysians who went to the street on April 28 for electoral reform. And Shamsul Anuar Nasarah did not even withdraw his support for the statement.
BERSIH 2.0 holds that what Ambiga has done is but demanding electoral reform by exercising her constitutional right to free speech and peaceful assembly. If she is guilty of treason, then the entire Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 and 250,000 other Malaysians are also guilty.
Unless the BN is a habitually violent party, one would expect PM Najib Razak or BN’s party whip to immediately order the two parliamentarians to withdraw the statement and to apologise to Dato Ambiga Sreenevasan, the House of Parliament and the entire nation, and to take immediate disciplinary action against the MPs concerned.
No self-respecting Prime Minister  would take such expression of hatred – which may trigger hate crime – lightly and expect to disown his coalition’s responsibility with an excuse of “personal opinion” from the BN secretary general Tengku Adnan Mansor.
PM Najib Razak can choose to do nothing and watch the hate and witchhunt campaign against BERSIH 2.0 leaders taking yet another lowest point. History will however record his irresponsible silence on this episode as another footnote to the claim that Najib is but a ‘false democrat’ by Canadian journalist Mark Mackinnon. And the Malaysian public too will make their judgement come the polling day.
Keluar Mengundi, Lawan Penipuan!
Salam Bersih!
BERSIH 2.0 Steering Committee
Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (BERSIH 2.0)
The Steering Committee of BERSIH 2.0 comprises:
Dato’ Ambiga Sreenevasan (Co-Chairperson), Datuk A. Samad Said (Co-Chairperson), Ahmad Shukri Abdul Razab, Andrew Khoo, Arul Prakkash, Arumugam K., Awang Abdillah (Kuching), Dominic Hii (Sibu), Dr Farouk Musa, Hishamuddin Rias, Liau Kok Fah, Mark Bujang (Miri), Maria Chin Abdullah, Niloh Ason (Kuching), Richard Y W Yeoh, Dr Subramaniam Pillay, Dato’ Dr Toh Kin Woon, Dr Wong Chin Huat, Dato’ Yeo Yang Poh and Zaid Kamaruddin.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

City Harvest founder Kong Hee charged in court for alleged misuse of church funds

(UPDATED 27 June 1.50pm to add details of Kong's court appearance)

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee and four other senior CHC members were charged in court early Wednesday morning for alleged misuse of church funds.

They were offered bail of $500,000 each and their passports were impounded.

Kong, 47, faced three charges for committing criminal breach of trust as an agent of CHC and for allegedly misappropriating about $24 million from CHC's building funds for unauthorise
d use.

Each charge carries the maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a fine.

His deputy, Tan Ye Peng, 39, faced 10 charges, with three for criminal breach of trust and another seven for allegedly falsifying church accounts to cover up discrepancies in numbers.

Another church board member, John Lam Leng Hung, 44, faced three charges similar to Kong, while church finance manager Sharon Tan Shao Yuen, 37, and investment manager Chew Eng Han, in his 50s, faced seven and 10 charges respectively.

The five were said to have diverted $24 million of the church's building fund to finance the music career of Kong's wife, pop singer Ho Yeow Sun.

This was allegedly done through a series of sham transactions, which were made under the pretense of being bond investments in two companies, Xtron Productions and PT The First National Glassware.

The prosecution believes that $13 million was diverted to Xtron, with the remaining $11 million of church funds going to the other company.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong told the court that not only had they allegedly diverted $24 million through false transactions, some of them had conspired to misappropriate another $26.6 million of church funds to cover it up.

Kong, Tan, and the three other senior ministry members looked solemn as the charges were read against them.

Dressed in a white shirt and black pants, Kong appeared strained as he walked into the Subordinate Courts holding hands with his wife, Ho, who kept her eyes downcast. The pair was accompanied by a group of at least 100 supporters.

Scuffles, shouting

CHC supporters were out in full force as early as 8 am and formed an orderly queue outside the packed courtroom, where the five were charged.

Some were heard in the queue cheering and said they were positive that Kong had been wrongly accused.

"He will come out of this white as snow. That's what we are praying for, that's what we're sure of." said one supporter, who declined to be named.

However, things got rowdy once Kong and Sun made their exit from the courts, with scuffles and shouting matches starting between some photographers and supporters.

Some supporters deliberately stood in the way of journalists following the couple and got aggressive when asked to move.

At one point, supporters around the couple used their hands to block the photographers' photo lenses, and one was heard shouting "Why don't you go and get another job?".

The five are due to return to court in four weeks' time, on 25 July.
They were arrested from their homes in a pre-dawn raid by police on Tuesday.
Kong, Tan Ye Peng and Lam sat on the church's management board. Chew was a co-shareholder and director of AMAC Capital Partners Pte Ltd, the church's investment arm, while Sharon Tan was City Harvest's finance manager.

Focus on pop-star wife

According to a statement from the Commissioner of Charities (COC), the funds were believed to have been used to finance the music career of Kong's pop-star wife, Ho Yeow Sun.

The Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) began its two-year investigation in May 2010 after receiving information of alleged misuse of funds.

The COC, which launched its own investigation at the same time, found there was a “concerted effort to conceal this movement of funds from the charity’s stakeholders.”

The COC has also suspended eight people, included the five that have been charged. The other three are Ho herself, Kelvin Teo Meng How and Jacqueline Tan Su Pheng.

Kong, a prolific Twitter user who goes by @konghee, posted a tweet at 9am on Tuesday with a Bible Psalm in Chinese, translated to "The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. Jesus will protect you from all harm."

He had spent the previous weekend before his arrest delivering his usual sermons, including one at the Heart of God Church in Paya Lebar.

Members of City Harvest church reacted with a mix of shock and denial.

"I still believe he will come out spotless from all this -- he's a man of God and we believe in him," said teacher Alicia Goh, 29, who attends the church regularly with her husband and two young children.

"I hope that the rest of the church and their good work will not be brought down with him. He is the founder of the church, but he can also make mistakes -- if he has indeed misused our funds, he needs to own up," said retiree Steven Wong, 67, who added that he was "very disappointed" by the news.

Many of Kong's supporters also took to Twitter to ask for "prayers" for Kong and the senior church ministry members, with one user "Erictan" saying that he was "praying and fasting" for Kong's "protection".

Other tweets were more sarcastic, with one tweeter saying that Kong had been having too great a "harvest" and that his arrest was an indication that "there is a God".

City Harvest, which was founded by Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho in 1989, is among the largest church congregations in Asia. It runs 36 internal ministries and in 2010, had an average of 23,000 worshippers attending its weekly services in English, Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese and Indonesian in Singapore.

Reporters and churchgoers alike were denied access to City Harvest's main building in Jurong West on Tuesday evening.

26-year-old Lee Wei Kee, a gardener, who frequented the church on Tuesday evenings for bible classes and meetings, told Yahoo! Singapore he was surprised to find the building closed to everyone.

A member of City Harvest for seven years, Lee also voiced his confidence in Kong's integrity, even though he said he was not aware of the case, and has yet to hear any word from the church.

Case is not against CHC

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean also weighed in on the arrests, saying in a statement that the charges filed against Kong and his four fellow leaders, and not against the church itself.

"The CHC is free to continue its church services and activities," he said, calling for people to "let the law take its course" and "avoid speculation or making pre-judgements that may unnecessarily stir up emotions".

In a statement, CHC said on Tuesday that "there is no case that is being brought against the church" although two pastors and three members have been invited to attend court on Wednesday.

CHC also said that the CHC Advisory Committee, comprising of Phil Pringle. founder of Christian City Church in Sydney and A R Bernard, founder and CEO of Christian Cultural Centre in New York, will continue to provide spiritual leadership. Both pastors were appointed advisory senior pastors over CHC.

Church operations and cell group meetings will continue as usual, including all weekend services as Singapore Expo and Jurong West, CHC said.

The CAD, which is investigating Kong Hee and his leaders, had previously led the probe against Ren Ci Hospital and the National Kidney Foundation.

Just after 5:30pm on Tuesday, another tweet was sent from Kong's account that read, "Tough day ... I trust in You, Lord Jesus ... Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done!"


新国教会创办人及4人 今被控滥用5880万公款

  • 康希与何耀珊夫妇曾被批评生活过得极尽奢华。
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  • 何耀珊

慈善总监今午发表文告说,除了被捕的5人,被解除职务的8名成员包括康希的歌手妻子何耀珊,以及张明豪(译音,Kelvin Teo Meng How)和陈淑萍(译音,Jacqueline Tan Su Pheng)。
在美住豪宅月租7万 与巨星毕彼特夫妇为邻
何耀珊夫妇曾被批评生活过得极尽奢华,何耀珊在美发展时,据悉入住好莱坞月租2万7700新元(约6万7865令吉)的豪宅,与好莱坞巨星毕彼特(Brad Pitt)夫妇为邻。
根据新加坡会计与企业管制局记录,负责推动何耀珊在亚洲歌唱事业的新加坡经纪公司Xtron Productions,从2004年至2006年每年都在亏钱,2007年累积亏损高达589万元。

'False Democrat' Najib put on International Rogues Gallery: Malaysia on WORLD WATCH as GE looms

Written by  Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

'False Democrat' Najib put on Int'l Rogues Gallery: M'sia on WORLD WATCH as GE looms
If Prime Minister Najib Razak thought he had succeeded in pulling wool over the eyes of the Malaysian people and the international community with a slew of reforms that have been described by critics as "whitewash", "insincere" and "sinister", he is terribly wrong.
And just like the mythical Emperor who wore no clothes, the 58-year old Malaysian leader is now being peeled and exposed for hypocrisy and accused of harboring dark intentions to retain power by force as have many of the world's disgraced despots.
Just months ago, Najib was crowned co-champion of "double-talk" by the influential Washington Post which is read by the likes of President Obama and other top US leaders. The Washington Post lashed out in a stinging editorial after Najib controversially deported Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari home to face certain torture and perhaps even death. The blunt language used by the US paper raised eyebrows and caused many to cough nervously in the corridors of power in Putrajaya, the Malaysian administrative capital.
But no, Najib and his advisers would not take the hint and clean up their act. Stubbornly, they clung to the belief that because they controlled the local mainstream media, they held the upper hand. If they told a lie often enough, the people and the world would believe them!
However, it did not work. Not only have Najib's attempts to pass glib sleight-of-hand laws that strengthen his own grip on power under the guise of 'reforms' been seen through, he has been slammed locally whilst a reputable Canadian newspaper has now categorized him as being a "false democrat".
"False democracies give the impression of being freer than they really are, which means they rarely face the kind of international pressure that the ally nasty regimes get," said the article published on June 8 by The Globe and Mail.
Like Mubarak & Co, Najib will use all ways to cling on
Entitled 'A 21st-century checklist of the new autocrats', the article also places Najib in the same league as the world's worst autocrats. The author Mark Mackinnon had categorised autocrats into four groups - false democrats, mad egotists, violent populists and callous capitalists.
Najib was put into the first category, along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen. The 'ex-members' of the club are former Yugoslavia president Slobodan Milosevic and former Egypt president Hosni Mubarak.
Mackinnon said such leaders "hold elections but have no intention of giving up power" and their "serious political rivals are jailed and their parties are outlawed on legal technicalities".
According to Opposition stalwart Lim Kit Siang, Najib was clearly very upset by the article. But no denial would hold any traction unless Najib issued a public pledge that he and his Umno party would pass over power peacefully if they lost at the ballot boxes, Lim said in response to news that the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry had challenged the Canadian article.
"A week ago, I had asked Najib to declare publicly whether he is prepared to accept the verdict of the electorate to ensure a peaceful transition of federal government if Pakatan Rakyat wins the next general election," said Kit Siang, who also the MP for Ipoh Timur.
"It is significant that at the post-UMNO Supreme Council press conference last Friday, Najib studiously avoided answering this question when it was posed by the press. Hence, the question Malaysians and the world are asking is whether Najib is a false democrat who holds elections but has no intention of giving up power."
Najib now in int'l rogues gallery: GE-13 promises to be "interesting"
To Mackinnon, there is reason for hope in countries governed by such leaders as the "false democracies" they practiced also created the possibility of change.
"Mr Milosevic and Mr Mubarak were ousted because citizens used the political space allowed them in a false democracy... The next election in Malaysia promises to be interesting," said Mackinnon.
However, in a rebuttal published today, the Malaysian Foreign Affairs Ministry detailed a list of reforms initiated by Najib over the past three years, describing these as "an impressive track record by anyone's standards".
The reforms included the abolition of Internal Security Act, ending of a 60-year state of emergency, measures to increase media freedom, amendment to the Universities and University Colleges Act, the enactment of the Peaceful Assembly Act, announcement to review the Sedition Act, repeal of the Banishment Act and the Restricted Residences Act, as well as the implementation of electoral reforms.
"This view does not tally with the fact that the opposition won an unprecedented number of seats in the last election.Next time round, Malaysians will again be free to choose who they want to lead their country - and while the prime minister takes nothing for granted, he hopes he will be given a mandate to continue Malaysia's transformation," fumed foreign ministry under-secretary Ahmad Rozian in his letter.
Also read:

A 21st-century checklist of the new autocrats

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


  • 两天前从洛杉磯返回檳城的沈淑敏(右),赠送洛杉磯的净选盟3.0集会T恤给安美嘉,中:檳州研究所首席执行员再里尔。(图:星洲日报)

Photos show that Altantuya was in France

  • Susan Loone
  • 9:42AM Jun 26, 2012

A Police probe finds the Mongolian translator never entered France from 1999 to 2006, but pictures of her published in 2007 show otherwise, says a report.

While French police investigations have revealed that Altantuya Shaaribuu nevered entered France from 1999 to 2006, there are photographs of her taken in Paris several years ago, that indicate otherwise.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Lynas, 滚回去澳洲建 1,000 间稀土厂吧!

Bishop backs Truth Reconciliation Commission call

RK Anand
 | June 25, 2012
Bishop Paul Tan lends his support to Bersih chairperson S Ambiga's proposal. He also says that the present government discriminates against those who do not profess Islam.

PETALING JAYA: A vocal Catholic leader has backed the call to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) to look into corruption and other issues such as race relations if Pakatan Rakyat forms the federal government.

Focusing on freedoms, Bishop Paul Tan said these, especially religious freedom, and truth sprung from the dignity of being human beings and curtailing them was an act aligned with the devil.

“It is the smothering to death the dignity of being a human being – the truth of being a genuine human being,” he told FMT.
The head of the Malacca and Johor diocese was responding to Bersih chairperson S Ambiga’s proposal to form the TRC instead of going on a witchhunt against the corrupt if the opposition bloc seized federal power
Arguing that it would not bode well for a nation in transition to be burdened with such court proceedings, the former Bar Council president suggested that amnesty be extended to those who came clean and cooperated to allow the commission to recover lost assets.
Ambiga also said that the TRC should look into other issues which had affected the nation during the course of Barisan Nasional’s protracted rule.

Reconciliation is necessary
Refraining from taking sides with either political bloc, Tan explained why he supported the proposal put forth by the Bersih chairperson.
“A human being is born with an intrinsic elan or a thrust for freedom to search for truth which should lead ultimately to love, concretely, acceptance of each other just as God accepts us with all our goodness and sinfulness,” he said.
“But to attain this type of intrinsic search for true freedom, one must remove all obstacles in its way, such as prejudices, biased opinions, hatred, anger, craving for money that leads to corruption, etc. This means that reconciliation with others must be a prerequisite to attain true freedom.
“One cannot love another different [cultural, racial or religious] from oneself [acceptance of another as he or she is] without first being reconciled. Therefore, reconciliation is a necessary step to love of others,” he added.
Therefore, Tan said all, be it from BN, Pakatan or NGOs should support the TRC because it touched the basic nature of being a human being.
The present govt discriminates
Without mincing his words, the bishop said the fact that the present government discriminated against those who did not profess Islam could not be denied.
He noted that the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) had submitted numerous memorandums to the government complaining about this discrimination.
“It is too long for me to go into the string of unhappiness brought up by MCCBCHST. But just to give a few examples: the enormous difficulty to get approval for the building of a church or temple, the lack of burial grounds for non-Muslims, the unethical methods employed to convert non-Mulims to become Muslims, etc. etc.
“Hardly anything is done to rectify this discrimination,” he said.
Over the years, there had been several contentious issues which put the government and Christian leaders at loggerheads, among them, an accusation by the Umno-owned daily Utusan Malaysia that Christians were plotting to take over the government.
The row over using the term Allah in Malay language bibles also witnessed the fire-bombing of several churches, leaving the Christians incensed.
Fearing that this could lead to an electoral backlash, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak last July visited the Vatican, where he met Pope Benedict XVI, to embellish his secular image.
‘Enough is enough!’
Meanwhile, Tan also posed a stinging question to religious leaders.
“Have we subtly compromised our position in order that we can get financial aid from the ruling coalition – through various political parties?” he asked.
The bishop said while his statements were not crafted to inflame any quarter, the matter however needed to be put across.
“What must be said must be said clear and loudly: enough is enough!
“No lies, no corruption, no manipulation of others, etc., because finally, truth will rear its head and justice will be done for the peace of all,” he added.
Tan explained that he did not imply that donations, even from the government, cannot be accepted but stressed that these must come without strings attached.
“Donation without condition is a blessing. Receiving monetary gifts tied directly or indirectly to political interests is insidious and unethical,” he said.
“It is not a moral stand that I take. It is to search with all of you for truth in the midst of the Malaysian political situation where religion is made used of by politicians for their end and politics is played to enhance one’s religion.
“I am sure there is room for different opinions in this loaded question. At least, we dare face,” he added.
Ambiga’s TRC proposal came in the wake of DAP strongman Lim Kit Siang’s remark that Dr Mahathir Mohamad was intensively campaigning for BN because he feared prosecution under a Pakatan government.
Denying that he had indulged in corrupt practices and abused his powers during his 22 years in office, the former premier accused his long-time political foe of wanting to see him jailed or put to death.
This drew flak from Lim, who said that he harboured no such desire but stressed that Mahathir should not block a full investigation into the numerous financial scandals during the latter’s term.
The TRC proposal was also backed by PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar, who stated that Pakatan was more interested in rescuing the nation as opposed to prosecuting Mahathir.