KUCHING, Nov 30 — Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen today urged the state government to take stern action against an officer at TV Sarawak (TVS) responsible for making a “ridiculous decision” of rejecting a Christian hymn O Holy Night to be included in a Christmas event scheduled to be held here this coming Sunday evening.
He said although the decision had been reversed after the intervention by the top two state leaders, the state government must stop any form of religious extremism and bigotry from spreading within the state government agencies in the future.
“Non-action against the officer concerned will be seen as the state government condoning his act,” he said in a statement.
He said the officer must be brought to book and held accountable for his actions.
Chong said the rejection of the hymn O Holy Night to replace Jingle Bell Rock to be sung in the Christmas Carol programme raises a very serious issue about the inherent threat to racial and religious harmony in Sarawak.
“Though after the intervention from Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg and his deputy Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah, the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) was then allowed to include the song in the programme,” he said.
“Had the leadership of ACS been of lesser character, it would have given in to the ridiculous demands set by TVS,” he said.
The state-owned TV station is the main organiser of the Christmas Christmas Carol for Sarawak in Diversity Programme to be held at Central Padang.
“It took great strength and strong faith for ACS to stand up against such bigotry from the state government’s agency,” Chong said.
He said it was only after the matter was widely reported in the media that the premier and his deputy intervened and reversed the TVS’ decision.
After a letter from ACS chairman Datuk Danald Jute to the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor) that it had rejected an invitation to attend the Christmas programme on December 3, TVS and Unifor issued a joint statement saying that there was a miscommunication that transpired among the parties involved.
They also clarified that there was no intention to exclude the hymn O Holy Night from the Christmas programme.