30th March 2012
The Christian Federation of Malaysia strongly and unreservedly protests against the seminar to be held this Saturday 31 March 2012 organised by the Johor State Education Department with the co-operation of the Johor State Mufti’s Office.
The Johor State Education Department and the Minister of Education who is responsible for the Department as well as the Johor State Mufti’s Office should be held accountable for the content as well as the theme of the seminar which had been posted on the Johor Bahru District Education Office website as : “Pemantapan Aqidah, Bahaya Liberalisme dan Pluralisme serta Ancaman Kristianisasi terhadap Umat Islam. Apa peranan guru?” (“Strengthening the Faith, the Dangers of Liberalism and Pluralism and the Threat of Christianisation towards Muslims. What is the role of teachers?”).
Once again, Christianity has been identified as a threat to Islam, this time by a State Education Department of the Ministry of Education. This is unfounded and unjustified.
Such a move is contrary to our Government’s attempt to showcase Malaysia as a moderate nation in the international conference on “Global Movement of Moderates” held in Kuala Lumpur at the beginning of the year.
Our Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib bin Tun Razak has called on all Malaysians to work together on the basis of our common religious principles and values of moderation in nation-building.
Our Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also launched in February this year an annual programme to promote inter-faith understanding in the schools.
Yet just over a month later, in the Minister of Education’s home state, tax-payers money is being used to pay for, and civil servants are being asked to attend, a seminar that seeks to sow disunity and discord amongst school-teachers and, through their influence, amongst our school-going children.
Indeed, the chairman of the Cabinet’s inter-faith committee, Dato’ Azman Amin Hassan, has since said that the “provocatively-titled” seminar flies in the face of the government’s school-level inter-faith harmony week which is to be an annual celebration in the month of February.
We condemn the Johor State Education Department’s action in this matter. We take umbrage at the clumsy attempt in wording the theme of the seminar as such. Even though there has now been an attempt to re-name the title of the seminar, the intent of the seminar has been clearly exposed for all to see.
No government-organised seminar should ever be conducted to implant fear and foment tensions among our peaceful and harmonious peoples. It is insufficient to re-name the seminar without changing the content and structure of the seminar.
Religion must never be used to divide our country, destabilise its harmony and destroy its unity.
The Government in carrying out its responsibility must take immediate and concrete steps to put an end once and for all to concerted efforts to paint Christians in Malaysia as enemies of Muslims.
As loyal citizens of Malaysia, our churches have always stressed and emphasised nation-building, religious freedom, peace, harmony and unity amongst all people living in our beloved country.
Government departments must not be seen to be working and should not be allowed to work at cross-purposes to the Government’s aims by instilling hatred and ill-will between religious communities. Such contradictory objectives will only serve to divide the nation rather than unite it.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia remains committed to building a just and equitable nation that recognises freedom of religion for all. This is the only way to a genuine and lasting peace.
We call on all Malaysians to join us in prayer and action to embrace moderation and reject the extremism exhibited by the organisers of the seminar and all those who defend it.
Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
The Christian Federation of Malaysia