PETALING JAYA, Dec 25 — Malaysians should pray for the government to be one that is caring towards all citizens and committed to having everyone getting an equal playing field, an organisation representing local churches said today.
Bishop Ong Hwa Teik, acting president of the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM), said Malaysians should pray for the government to be a “just and benevolent government that takes care of everyone in Malaysia”.
Ong described such a government as being “committed to an even playing field where all, big or small, many or few in number, male or female, rich or poor, young or old — will have a secure and equitable place under the Malaysian sun!”
Ong went on to cite the example of the late South Africa president Nelson Mandela, noting that the latter had demonstrated a similar commitment in leading an elected government “that justly takes care of everyone” in 1994 after the end of the practice of apartheid or racial segregation in South Africa.
The church leader said Mandela had shown what it meant to be “fair, just, compassionate, humble, truthfully courageous and sacrificial in the interests of others”, noting that the latter had even at least twice publicly declared his willingness to die for the sake of seeing all citizens in his country “treated as equals” instead of being oppressed or forced to be inferior by a then white supremacist government.
Ong was delivering his opening speech at the Christian Federation of Malaysia’s (CFM) annual Christmas hi-tea which was organised this year by CFM component member Council of Churches Malaysia.
In the same speech, Ong reminded the local Christian community to never forget the local churches’ legacy of giving out aid without discrimination.
“Let us continue to reach out and make a difference to our community by free food programmes, medical clinics and hospitals, free legal aid, senior citizen homes, our cherished mission schools, drug rehabilitation and prison ministries and other good deeds,” the CFM vice-chairman said, said, adding that Christians are jointly responsible with all Malaysians to make the country great.
In his speech, Ong thanked all those who attended the Christmas high tea, saying that it reaffirms “the preciousness of unity in diversity” under Malaysia Baharu.
He said the celebration was “joyously done in the richness of our multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious Malaysian heritage”.
The event today was attended by dignitaries such as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail; Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Hannah Yeoh; Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok, other elected lawmakers, diplomats, community leaders and leaders from other faiths.
CFM chairman Archbishop Julian Leow and CFM vice-chairman and CFM component member National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) chairman Rev Eu Hong Seng were also present.
Dr Wan Azizah had similarly today said that “unity in diversity” was Malaysia’s trademark and strength, also highlighting the beauty of Malaysia’s open house culture during the country’s many religious and cultural festivities.
CFM honourary treasurer Bishop Aaron Yap Chuan Ching today also expressed appreciation towards the many different religious leaders who had joined in the Christmas hi-tea.
“This is the true Malaysian spirit. Thank you once again for being here and we hope you will have an enjoyable time of fellowship.
“Let us always cherish the ‘Muhibbah’ spirit as we share in each other’s religious celebrations,” he said in his speech.
Yap is also the bishop of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia, which hosted the event today at its headquarters at the Luther Centre.