Political Changes And Implications For A New Malaysia Post GE14

By Prof. Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria

We have just witnessed the unbelievable results of the 14th general election (GE14) with a change of government from the Barisan Nasional (BN) to Pakatan Harapan (PH). Most opinion polls, academics and commentators did not forecast the scale of PH victory nor the mass movement on the ground ushering in a new age for democracy and good governance in Malaysia.

As one reflects on these events, we cannot but acknowledge the hand of God in events of the world and a response to pray for a just and fair government for a better Malaysia for all Malaysians. With a new government in place at both the Federal and many State levels, let us continue to pray for our leaders to govern with justice and fairness and be accountable to the people with the fear of God in their hearts.

As I reflect on GE14 and the future, let me highlight three key points that will require Christians as responsible citizens to continue to play their role in society as salt and light (Matt.5:13-14).

PEACEFUL TRANSITION

It is amazing to see the peaceful transition of power. While the Election Commission did not play an independent role nor make the announcements of election results early, nonetheless by June 10, 2018, a new Prime Minister had been sworn in and eventually the Deputy Prime Minister and other key Ministers appointed to the Cabinet.

In the past, the May 13 bogeyman would be released to instil fear among the people that any change would result in bloodshed; however, this was not true. Malaysians of all ethnic communities voted for change and the majority of parliamentary seats went to PH. In my assessment, this is not just a Chinese, or Indian or Malay or Dusun-Kadazan or Iban tsunami but a Malaysia tsunami and desire for change.

We need to keep reminding politicians that this is the reality and get them to downplay both race and religion in the choices people make. The majority had voted for change, which resulted in a peaceful transition that surprised the world, especially our ASEAN neighbours. We must continue to remember that this change, from South to North – Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan, Selangor, Perak, Penang, and Kedah – and Sabah in East Malaysia, was possible because of the silent Malay voters who switched from BN to PH.

We can take this peaceful transition for granted but as Christian citizens of Malaysia we must play the peace-maker and peace-builder role (Matt. 5:9), ensuring our close relationship with people of all ethnic communities. We must foster peaceful living and a greater sense of appreciation of our diversity. We must see all as God’s creation and the covenant with Noah (Gen. 9:9) as a dimension that needs to be captured in Malaysian society so as to build a rainbow community of all people.

CONTESTATION CONTINUES

While PH secured a majority of the parliamentary seats to form the Federal Government, we must recognise that it secured only 47.9% of the popular vote. BN secured 33.8% and a majority of the parliamentary seats in Malay-Muslim majority constituencies while PAS won 16.9%, also in Malay-Muslim majority areas. Based on popular showing, almost half of the voters in GE14 did not support PH. There are therefore some major implications.

The major one is that PAS managed to form the state government in Kelantan and Terengganu. They won a significant number of seats in Kedah and almost became kingmakers in Perak. Altogether, they won 18 parliamentary seats. It was forecasted that they would not be able to win a single parliamentary seat. There is a strong Islamic following, which Prof. Shamsul calls the “moral constituency”. This core group, especially from the Malay-Muslim community, are ideological supporters of PAS and would not vote for BN or PH. Likewise we must recognise that Umno captured a majority of the Malay majority parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia, i.e. 47 parliamentary seats.

We need to reflect and note that there are different aspirations and visions in the remaking of a Malaysian society. A simple illustration is the threefold aspiration for Malaysia. There is the Muslim or Islamic dominant view where the Islamic laws will become supreme over civil law. There is a Malay-Malaysia where the ethnic Malay is dominant and others have a place; the other communities will be subservient to the majority race. Here, ethnicity and religion play a role in an ethno-religious nationalist way. The third is a Malaysia for all Malaysians but one which still holds a Constitutional balance between equality of Article 8 and the special position of Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, including Article 153’s legitimate interest of others.

We have witnessed the differing views and contestation on the appointment of a non-Malay-Muslim Finance Minister and the Attorney General. In both cases, the Prime Minister went by the guidelines of the Federal Constitution but not by the sentiments of sections of the Malaysian society.

Some have said change and reform had been too rapid; others had disagreed. We must be wise and at the same time, engage with all sections with the right constitutional understanding. Over the years, there has been much distortion of knowledge and understanding. We must have open conversations but at the same time, be sensitive to all views and aspirations.

Often, Christian citizens are isolated and therefore, we must enter the public space, exercising our democratic rights and engaging with especially Malay and Muslim groups. For that we must improve our Bahasa Malaysia communication skill and develop an appreciation of the Malay culture. We could engage at both formal and informal levels but key is building friendship and fostering good neighbourliness. We need to understand the Malay-Muslim narrative and play a role in ensuring that it becomes a Malaysian narrative and not an exclusively extreme race and religion one.

INSTITUTIONAL REFORM

The new PH government has ushered in political and economic institutional reforms. These were promised in the PH manifesto in strengthening good governance, accountability and human rights. The setting up of various special committees is testament to the political will. The major role is one of reviewing the separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and legislature in line with the Federal Constitution. In this context, the repeal of oppressive legislation and space for democratic freedom is most critical. The 1MDB abuses and national debt are other major challenges for the new government.

Within the Christian community are major talented and professionally qualified people who could volunteer their time for the institutional reforms. Those with legal expertise, financial and banking including investments, audit and financial controls, administration and execution could all volunteer for national service to strengthen the process of reform. Civil society provides a good avenue. Civil society organisations (CSO) have created a CSO platform for Reform, with KOMAS providing coordination. CSO have organised themselves in thematic areas and have been making collective presentations to the Institutional Reform Committee (IRC). At a second level, CSO are also seeking to relate directly with Ministries and agencies directing specific matters on women and children, security laws, human rights and election reform, etc.

On May 28, 2018, I had the opportunity to lead a team from the CSO platform to meet all the five IRC members. They were open to hear our views, especially on addressing ethnic relations and conflict, poverty and inequality as well as fostering a human rights culture. Christian citizens could play an active role in religious freedom issues and concerns for all religious groups. More than inter-religious dialogue is engagement and trust building to resolve conflicts. One proposed system could be community mediation centres.

As Christian citizens, we can monitor the promises made via the PH Manifesto, 100-day promises, and the institutional reform for greater openness, transparency, accountability and fairness to all communities. We need to pray for the Cabinet, all members of parliament, and members of the judiciary as well as the civil service (1 Tim. 2: 1-2). Let us pray that all will carry out their services without fear or favour. Imperative is that we abide by the advice of a mother as found in Proverbs 31:8-9. We must become the voice of the voiceless, irrespective of ethnicity and religion. More well qualified Christians should apply for government service and play an effective role as Joseph (Gen. 41:39-40) and Daniel (Dan. 1:18-21).

Many of us can see the rise in patriotic feelings for the nation, especially in the way Malaysians have been responding to the Government’s crowdfunding initiative, Tabung Harapan Fund. As citizens, we can do our part in assisting the Federal Government in settling its debts caused by the previous administration’s mismanagement of funds. Whether big or small, we can respond through this vehicle, and also be found faithful as Scripture instructs us to pay our taxes (Rom. 13:6).

But most of all as Christian citizens, we must do what is good as required by God and act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). May God give us the vision and strength in our responsibility as citizens of Malaysia.

———————

Denison Jayasooria is Practice Professor for public advocacy & Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of Ethnic Studies, UKM. He and his wife, Datin Rose Cheng Jayasooria, worship at DUMC, PJ where he is advisor of the Citizens Network for a Better Malaysia CNBM).

Related:

By Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria “Your Vote is Useless Unless you cast It. Asian Beacon” Issue 50 #1 Jan-March 2018

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UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Members Review: Malaysia

RANKINGS HELD 2018:


• OPEN DOORS RANKING [23/50]
Fifty Most Dangerous Countries To Follow Jesus.1)Open Doors World Watch List (ranked 1 to 50) (1 = Worst)

• FREEDOM IN THE WORLD 2018
. STATUS: Partly Free
. FREEDOM AGGREGATE [44/100]
Aggregate Score 2)Freedom in the World 2018 Table of Country Aggregate Freedom Score {0 = least free, 100 = most free}


• ADL-GLOBAL ANTI-SEMITISM INDEX [61%]
(0% = least – 100% = most)

ISRAEL’S TOP TEN ANTI-SEMITISM NATIONS LIST [0/10]


US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy. It has a parliamentary system of government selected through regular, multiparty elections and is headed by a prime minister. The king is the head of state and serves a largely ceremonial role; he serves a five-year term, and the kingship rotates among the sultans of the nine states with hereditary rulers. The United Malays National Organization, together with a coalition of political parties known as the National Front (BN), has held power since independence in 1957. In the 2013 general election, the BN lost the popular vote to the opposition coalition but was re-elected in the country’s first-past-the-post system. The opposition and civil society organizations alleged electoral irregularities and systemic disadvantages for opposition groups due to lack of media access and malapportioned districts favoring the ruling coalition.

Civilian authorities at times did not maintain effective control over security forces.

The most significant human rights issues included: an incident of forced disappearance; abusive and degrading treatment by security officials that in some cases led to death; the use of caning as a legal punishment; indefinite detention without warrant or judicial review for persons suspected of certain security-related crimes; arbitrary arrest and detention of government critics; limits on the freedoms of expression, including for the press, assembly, and association; limits on political rights and privacy; corruption; violence against transgender persons and criminalization of same-sex sexual activities, although the law was rarely enforced; and child and forced labor, especially for migrant workers.

The government arrested and prosecuted some officials engaged in corruption, malfeasance, and human rights abuses, although civil society groups alleged continued impunity.


FULL REPORT PDF COPY – Pages 35


BACKGROUND RESOURCE:

a. US Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor: state.gov

b. Freedom in the World 2018  Table of Country Aggregate Score: freedomhouse.org

c. Top anti-Semitism nations ranked 1-10 Jewish perspective: timesofisrael.com

d. ADL-Global 4,161,578,905 Total adult population of countries surveyed: global100.adl.org

e. Executive Summary Source: state.gov

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References   [ + ]

1. Open Doors World Watch List 
2. Freedom in the World 2018 Table of Country Aggregate Freedom Score

World Watch List – Country Profiles

Open Doors Logo (01) feature

World Watch List 2016: Released

The list showing the countries where Christians are persecuted most, has just been released. Resources will be available from 1 February.

The countries listed below make up the current World Watch List - a yearly ranking of the top 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most intense. Click on a country to read about its current situation.

Source: World Watch List – Country Profiles

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Malaysian Christians leaving Malaysia?

Open Doors Logo (01) feature

Malaysia (MNN) — Laws imposing Sharia (Islamic) law in one state in Malaysia are on hold, as secular government and Christians leaders cry “foul.” In 1993, the State of Kelantan passed legislation that allowed for beatings and even amputations as punishment for theft and other actions considered crimes under the Koran.

(Photo courtesy Open Doors USA)

by Greg Yoder
Currently, they those laws can’t be enforced.

Why?

They violate Malaysia’s constitution.

What could allow them to be imposed?

A change in Malaysia’s constitution.

Is this possible?

A Christian friend of Mission Network News, who lives in Malaysia says, “Not right now.”

However,

As creeping Islamization continues, as Muslims continue to have many more children than non-Muslims, the demographics will continue to change.

We’re not identifying the friend of MNN for security reasons. He says Malaysia is considered a Muslim nation: “This was meant as a ceremonial religion. That means, if you need a religious ceremony for a state function, then it should be Islam. [It’s similar to] the U.K. — if you need a religious function [there], it’s the Church of England.”

Creeping Islamization is changing that philosophy. 
 
Our MNN friend in Malaysia says that’s revealing itself in what some call Little Mullah Napoleons. What are they?

Civil servants who are Muslims in position of certain authority, arbitrarily making rules that restrict the freedom of non-Muslims.

Our friend believes it’s getting worse.

There’s the general feeling among non-Muslims, and even among moderate Muslims, that we’re losing the secular nature of our state.

Muslims and non-Muslims alike are concerned that the Islamic State (or Daesh) could make its way into the country. He doesn’t think that will happen…yet. “Certainly the ruling coalition government is firmly against it because they would be dead if Daesh ever takes over. [And], the average Muslim, I think, in Malaysia, would be appalled if Daesh ever takes over.”

Despite that, Malaysian Christians are concerned about their religious freedom. It’s created a “spirit drain,” of sorts.

A lot of Christians in Malaysia have left the country–moved to greener pastures like in Australia and the United States. We’ve had Christian leaders who have written and spoken out about this issue saying, ‘Look, are you serving Christ, or are you serving mammon?‘”

Legislators intend on bringing up the restructured Kelantan Sharia legislation in parliament, but almost all parties, both from the ruling coalition and the opposition coalition, oppose doing so.

Our friend is asking you to pray for Christians who are ethnic Chinese, Tamil, Indian, natives, and other people groups. “We’ve got religion. We’ve got politics. It’s all mixed in. Christ has called us to do something in this country. We as the church need to stay strong. Some of us need to get strong in the first place.”

Open Doors USA is asking you to pray for Malaysia Muslim-background believers who are underground. They face incredible oppression. Pray that God will give them wisdom as they grow in their faith and that they would have an impact on family and friends as they begin to see a change in their lives.

published by Greg Yoder | APRIL 13, 2015 | Original Source: mnnonline.org "Malaysian Christians leaving Malaysia?"
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Location Of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ‘Being Withheld,’ Claims Emirates Boss

Flight MH370 feature

 November 22, 2014: Sir Tim Clark, the chief executive of Emirates, said in a recent interview with aviation journalist Andreas Spaeth, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald, that to his mind information regarding the location of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is being withheld by certain authorities.

In the interview, Clark also questioned what the role of the Malaysian military was after the plane disappeared on March 8, carrying 239 people on board.

Clark raised a lot of questions about the incident, asking his interviewer a rhetorical question.

“I think we will know more if there is full transparency of everything that everybody knows. I do not believe that the information held by some is on the table. Who actually disabled ACARS [the plane’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System], who knew how to do it? If you eliminate the pilot on a suicide mission, I’m sure you could have put the aircraft in the South China Sea, rather than fly it for seven hours. So if he was on a suicide mission, he would have done it then. Who then took control of the aircraft? Who then knew how to disable ACARS and turn the transponder off? That is a huge challenge.”

As far as Clark is concerned, it is virtually impossible for an aircraft of that size to go missing off the face of the earth in this modern day and age.

Full article here: inquisitr.com

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