KUANTAN, June 19 — In recognition of their contribution to their respective fields, PAS Youth has named Christian activist Jason Leong and independent preacher Firdaus Wong Wai Hung as exemplary icons during its 60th muktamar or annual congress here today.
Leong, the adviser to a group called NextGen Christians of Malaysia (Ancom) was awarded the Unity Icon Award while Firdaus was awarded the Dakwah Icon Award for his missionary work. For both men, this is their first time attending the Islamist party’s event.
Speaking to Malay Mail on the side of the Congress, Leong, who is also known for his vocal support for Palestine and the Rohingyas in recent years, said he was humbled by the award, explaining that his association has maintained good relations with various Muslim organisations and even political parties, to foster better understanding and cooperation among one another.
“We have done a lot of engagement with Muslims across the board and we do not believe in profiling people, we do not believe in labelling people. Calling them ultra, extremist, left, right centrist. So long as you are Malaysians we will work with you.
“So we don’t come with preconceived prejudices," he said, stating that he has also worked with other parties such as Umno, Pakatan Harapan, and even hardline Islamist and Malay rights groups such as Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia (Isma) and Perkasa, among others.
Leong said Ancom was born from the “Allah” controversy in 2013 since it is pertinent to constantly engage with various groups from the two faiths to ensure the matter was dealt rationally.
He added it is important for members of different faiths to continue to talk to one another, and build a relationship of trust and understanding.
Leong is also a founder and adviser of Christians For Peace and Harmony Malaysia, a pro-Barisan Nasional group formed to provide a counterpoint to established Christian groups such as the Christian Federation of Malaysia and the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship.
Firdaus, the founder of convert support group Multiracial Reverted Muslims (MRM), on the other hand, expressed shock on receiving his award, stating his work or evangelism was based purely on the principle of spreading Islam.
“It is up to them to decide what my contribution is as I am perplexed as to what my contribution really is. What I do is only for the sake of Islam,’’ he said.
Wong then explained he remains apolitical, and only came this year out of an invitation from PAS Youth.
He echoed Leong’s sentiment that members of different faiths should continue to converse with one another. However, he is mainly concerned with religious extremists who tend to be more vocal.
“It is these select few who tend to overtake rational religious discussions, which is a shame,’’ he said.