Saturday, September 15, 2007

Catholic Merdeka Message

This is a message from the Catholic Church:

Message of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia on the Golden Jubilee of Merdeka

The Catholic Bishops of Malaysia rejoice with all Malaysians as we celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Merdeka, 50 years of independence, freedom and nationhood. There is much for us to celebrate as we have made outstanding progress and achieved great development to stand out as one of the most developed countries in South East Asia.

However, as we celebrate our success, we should also be aware of areas of concern which have surfaced in recent years, namely religious and racial tensions, corruption and a rising crime rate.

Racial and religious tensions have been heightened by increasing infringements on the fundamental right to freedom of religion which is enshrined in the Constitution, and a growing perception that non-Muslims’ religions and concerns are diminished or neglected. To move ahead and for Malaysians to continue to be united, we must adhere to the social contract arrived at by our founding fathers, the Federal Constitution and the Rukun Negara, our national ideology.

We urge the government and elected Representatives of Parliament and State legislatures as custodians of the rights of all Malaysians to address these issues directly. They should not let the growing number of individuals of a predominant group in the civil and armed services and the executive branches of governance to act in ways which are prejudicial or hurtful to the sensibilities of non-Muslims and those of other faiths.

In addition, the government should hold dialogues between followers of various religions in the country, not only to foster greater understanding and harmony among our people of different faiths, but also to resolve by consensus, the various problems and obstacles to the peace and prosperity of our beloved nation.

We are concerned about continued reports of corruption and lack of transparency and accountability, and urge the Government to be more proactive in the eradication of corruption and more transparent in its administration of public funds and projects.

We are concerned with the rising crime rate and fear that our country may be heading towards a breakdown of enforcement of law and order if the situation is allowed to continue. It is timely for the Government to reform the Royal Malaysia Police Force for effective implementation of a better policing system.

In our role as Malaysian citizens and as leaders in the Catholic Church, we work towards and pray for the very best that our nation deserves.

As such, urge you not to be dispirited by such recurring problems and to become catalysis of nation-building especially by promoting inter-racial and inter-religious harmony, “For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law” (Ep 2:14-16) and integrity in your civic duties.

May Almighty God continue to bless Malaysia with continued peace and prosperity.

Sincerely in Christ,
Archbishop Murphy Pakiam
21 August 2007.

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