KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) has denied today an accusation by a coalition of Malay-Muslim groups that it is seeking to place as many Christians as possible among the country’s political leadership.
Its chairman Archbishop Julian Leow Beng Kim said the CFM does not have the authority to do so in a democratic country, and is currently seeking legal advice against Gerakan Pembela Ummah regarding the unmerited assault on CFM’s name and reputation.
“Malaysia is a democracy and its leaders are elected by the people at its general elections. CFM deplores this disgraceful attempt to raise discontent and disaffection and to promote feelings of ill will and hostility between the people of Malaysia,” he said in a statement.
Leow, who is also the Roman Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, said CFM categorically refutes the “spurious” claim made by Ummah chairman and Ikatan Muslim Malaysia (Isma) president Aminuddin Yahya in his opening speech during the National Ummah Unity Convention on Sunday.
“At a time when Malaysia is looking forward to celebrating the 62nd anniversary of Merdeka and the 56th anniversary of the birth of Malaysia and its government by applying itself to promoting peace and harmony among Malaysians, it is an outrage that such a scurrilous polemic is launched to divide and incite.
“Since its inception, the CFM has consistently upheld the Federal Constitution and the Rule of Law, unfailingly promoted harmony and unity among Malaysians and encouraged all to work for the common good of our beloved nation and to be involved, as responsible citizens and co-stakeholders, in all spheres of the nation’s development, economy and polity to build our nation,” he said.
Leow said the CFM has also faithfully included the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, state Rulers, and the federal and state governments in its prayers, and has constantly called on the Christian community to do the same.
In his opening speech during the National Ummah Unity Convention on Sunday, Aminuddin alleged that one of CFM’s resolutions is to place as many Christians as possible in national leadership positions, as part of an evangelical drive.
He had also named Christian evangelism as one of the major threats to the majority Malay-Muslim community along with liberalism and human rights, and accused Christian evangelists of becoming more brazen in spreading their beliefs to Muslims.
His comments drew flak from another Christian organisation, the Council of Churches Malaysia, with general secretary Reverend Hermen Shastri demanding action be taken against Ummah for derailing interfaith relations in the country.
Ummah’s remarks come as Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin expressed concern over rising tensions due to issues related to race, religion and royalty.
The home minister said he had directed the police to take note of sensitive issues raised by anyone including religious figures.
Malay-Muslim conservative groups, such as Isma, have also consistently spoken out against “Christianisation” as an alleged threat to the Malay-Muslim community in recent years.
Under the previous Barisan Nasional administration, purported success in preventing the spread of Christianisation was among the measures used to determine the country’s adherence to Shariah requirements, while in 2015, a seminar was reportedly held at Melaka UiTM on the alleged threat of Christian proselytisation.