Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Christians are taught to respect authority, says new group on Najib

Published: 2 June 2015 8:01 PM
Christians for Peach and Harmony Malaysia president Rev Wong Kim Kong speaks during a press conference at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Kamal Ariffin, June 2, 2015.

Putrajaya's endorsement of new non-governmental organisation Christians for Peace and Harmony Malaysia (CPHM) is meant to help endear Muslims to the group and its efforts to restore trust between religions, its president Rev Wong Kim Kong said today.
Christian-Muslim relations in the past have had a history of distrust, Wong said, and that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the government support CPHM would instil confidence among the other religions to dialogue with the group.
"To be able to engage Muslims in conversation, they must have some confidence ‎.
"So when Najib endorses it, it will give the Malays and Indians the confidence to dialogue and accept us.
"Tonight you will see the uniqueness of this group," Wong said in reference to the dinner, which was also attended by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala and former minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah.
On how Najib would lend credibility to CPHM given heavy criticism over his handling of debt ridden state fund 1MDB crisis, Wong said the Bible taught Christians to respect authority.
He said this to reporters after a two-hour seminar prior to CPHM's launch at a dinner in a Kuala Lumpur hotel.
Wong added that Christians were taught to submit to and obey the government and those God had put in authority.
"So don't look at the person, as long as he is in position, the Scripture teaches us to honour and respect authority.
"Just like how we reject homosexuality but we love homosexuals," Wong said ahead of the dinner with 1200 guests in attendance.
He also stressed that Putrajaya was not funding the NGO but that funds were coming from individuals and corporate bodies.
Wong, however, said it would not be wrong to accept funds from the government as it was taxpayers' money.
"Government money is not dirty money, it is taxpayers' money, one day if there is a need, we will still want to partner the government," he said.
When asked if the inception of CPHM would make the interfaith group Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) redundant, Wong denied this, saying that their objectives were different.
He explained that while the interfaith group was there to defend the religious rights of any particular religion, CPHM's aim was to promote peace and harmony, saying that this would be done through activities.
He added that they have already secured one such engagement in Segamat, where Christians and Muslims grassroots will sit down at a dinner together in August.
Wong then used the Taman Medan cross protest as an example saying that while groups like the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) and the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) would go in to defend the pastor of the church which was forced to bring down the cross, CPHM's role would be to speak up and advice those who participated in the demonstration.
"When you deal with that kind of situation and try to talk to them, they will think you are fighting them
"We will go in as the mediator, so in that sense we will complement the other Christian groups," Wong said. – June 2, 2015.

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