KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 30 — The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) today called on Malaysians to stand strong against those who continue to sow division within the country along racial and religious lines, especially after the polarising elections.
In its Merdeka Day message, the umbrella body representing over 90 per cent of Catholic, Protestant, and Evangelical churches in Malaysia expressed concern about what they see as attempts to reinterpret the Federal Constitution to cater to racial and religious sentiments.
“There are voices that try to re-interpret our long-held sacrosanct Federal Constitution to suit their sentiments of racial and religious separation and cause the breaking down of a united Malaysian citizenry.
“We Malaysian Christians must unite with like-minded fellow Malaysians to work even harder to silence those voices of separation and to build a strong and united nation whom we love and cherish,” CFM said in a statement.
The statement was signed by its chairman Philip Thomas of the Orthodox Syrian Church, and three vice-chairmen – Catholic archbishop Simon Poh Hoon Seng of the Kuching archdiocese; Datuk Danald Jute, Anglican bishop of Sarawak; and Eu Hong Seng of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship.
“We need to uphold our Federal Constitution by interpreting it inclusively for all Malaysians and to ensure its protection of everyone in Malaysia,” CFM said.
The clergymen also said that beyond the Federal Constitution, there is the Rukun Negara as a guiding principle to unite Malaysia’s diverse population.
The Rukun Negara was declared by the fourth Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Ismail Nasiruddin Shah on August 31, 1970, as a response to the racial clashes of May 13, 1969 that shook the racial and religious harmony and prosperity of the young country then.
“Without a doubt, our national leadership then were very concerned that national unity was something not to be toyed with and so the Rukun Negara was their considered solution to ensure that national unity would be the enduring bastion of a multi-racial, multi-cultural, and multi-religious Malaysia,” CFM said. The CFM also called on political leaders to work together to build a united Malaysia.
“We urge our political leaders to work together in unity and strength to achieve much for Malaysians,” the clergymen said.
The group added that one way to promote unity is to form Rukun Negara Clubs in schools, and called for teachers to become “icons of national unity” to students.