Sabahan goes to court in bid to start Christian radio station

Sabahan Ronnie Vun is seeking a court application to allow a Christian radio station in Sabah and Sarawak. — Picture courtesy of Ronnie Vun
Sabahan Ronnie Vun is seeking a court application to allow a Christian radio station in Sabah and Sarawak. — Picture courtesy of Ronnie Vun

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KOTA KINABALU, July 14 — Sabah-born property investor Ronnie Vun Yun Heu is seeking a court order for permission to set up a Christian radio station for Sabah and Sarawak.

The 55-year-old of mixed Dusun and Chinese ancestry from Kota Belud has filed a judicial review to compel the Communication and Multimedia Ministry director to consider and approve his application for a license to operate the Christian radio station for the two states.

According to documents provided by his lawyer Marcel Jude Joseph, Vun had previously applied to the federal ministry and even written to its minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak — also a Sabahan — personally, but was ignored and his application unanswered.

“They are not giving attention to his application and he can’t wait forever. The delay is implied denial,” Marcel told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.

The judicial review application was filed online yesterday.

In his supporting court statement, Vun — who has a background in wood and forestry engineering — said it was his right to freedom of speech, expression and religion that he pursued his application leading up to court.

Vun, a Christian, said he had been working on the radio project through his contacts from the United States.

“It is not a project one can take lightly because of the amount of investment and the nature of the mobilisation and setup works. Once you embark on this venture, there cannot be any turning back and failure can be very expensive, leaving a person with equipment and technological hardware which is no longer of use,” he said in his filing.

He claimed his desire to set up the Christian radio station was to help the “social problems in the broken world caused by spiritual or psychological sick individuals” and hopes to reach out to the “lost souls” through, education and prayers.

Also in his statement, Vun cited two US-based Christian radio stations, 89.3 FM KSBj and 105.7 FM KHCB as the models for his proposed station which will focus on an all-age or youth station featuring current facts entertainment and a family talk channel concerning relationship issues from many prominent preachers.

“I believe such radio and TV media of positive information and entertainment can play important roles in nurturing healthy citizens living in world of diverse multicultural societies such as in cosmopolitan Malaysia.”

When contacted, Vun said that the Federal Constitution allows for freedom of religion and Article 3 provides that Islam is the religion of the country but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony.

“Currently, we have Muslims radio stations that promote the teaching, praying Azan, and guidance of spiritual matters to Muslims. I believe it is important to educate their good Muslim faith and practices among the Muslims. In the same token, Sabah Christians comprises 25 per cent of the electorate.

“As such, this Christian Radio Station is supported by donations of Christian membership. We also want to teach, pray, guide our Christian sheep to life. Secondly, the radio stations unite various churches by announcement of activities and functions so member Christians be better informed,” he told Malay Mail Online, adding that the station would be multilingual. 

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