The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) in its Independence Day message yesterday called for the introduction of a fairer electoral system and freedom for Christians to do charitable works.
“Today, Malaysians as concerned citizens want our voices to be heard and wish to speak on the issues of the nation and how it is administered. Many Malaysians desire electoral reform to ensure a fair and equitable electoral system,” it said in a statement.
The CFM is an umbrella body representing mainstream Churches in Malaysia.
The statement comes amid growing dissatisfaction in Malaysia with an electoral system that many feel favors the ruling party which has governed the country since independence from Britain in 1957.
On July 9, thousands of protesters gathered in Kuala Lumpur demanding electoral reform, ahead of a general election widely expected to take place later this year.
“We do not side with whatever party, but we desire to see a fair, clean and just electoral system which in turn can bring about a fair, just and harmonious nation,” CFM chairman Anglican Bishop Ng Moon Hing said.
Christians should also have the freedom to do charitable works, the federation says.
“Churches and Christians should continue freely to do works of charity to contribute towards nation-building in diverse ways so that the benefits can be reaped by the poor and the needy irrespective of race, religion or creed,” the CFM statement said.
The federation denied media claims that Christians and Churches are trying to convert Muslims through charitable activities.
These were sparked when a state Islamic religious department raided an evangelical church in Petaling Jaya on August 3 during a fund-raising dinner organized by a charity-based NGO.
Finding several Muslims at the dinner, officials suspected they were being converted, a charge denied by both the church and the NGO.
“Doing good works does not mean we are proselytizing,” CFM vice-chairman Reverend Eu Hong Seng said, adding “a church’s doors should always be open. We should not be deterred nor afraid of doing good works.”
Bishop Ng echoed these thoughts, saying: “Doing good works’ is part and parcel of the Church. We will continue to do all these charitable works that reach out to all, regardless of race and religion.”