PRESIDENT’S SPEECH: DAOZHANG TAN HOE CHIEOW AT THE 30TH ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING HELD ON SATURDAY, 14TH JULY 2012
A very good morning and a warm welcome each one of you to the 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM). My heartfelt appreciation to all delegates, observers and invited guest for having made the effort, commitment and taken time to attend and ensure the success of the 30th AGM. This is especially so for the representatives from the respective State Branches who started out as early as 5am this morning.
The Executive Committee had miscalculated that since we are having our 30th AGM hence we should be celebrating the 30th Anniversary of MCCBCHST and had even appointed Sardar Jagir Singh as the Organising Chairman for our 30th Anniversary celebration. The President opined that MCCBCHST is not only to solve problems and challenges faced by the Non- Muslims but also to Promote Understanding and Harmony Among Adherents of all religions. Hence our Anniversary Celebration is one way of Promoting Understanding, Interaction and Harmony amongst our members. But after careful calculations, we found out that this year is only the 29th year of MCCBCHST’s formation. Nevertheless the organising committee for the 30th Anniversary Celebration have started its meeting and had fixed the date of our 30th Anniversary Celebration to be held on the 10th August 2013 at the HGH Convention Center in SJK(C) Sentul, Kuala Lumpur. I believe the event will be a grand Celebration showcasing our 30 year history. We have started working and we are giving the event our considered attention and time, 1 year and 1 month of preparations to ensure its success.
I personally feel that MCCBCHST, after 29 years of existence, moving from one premise to another, and now renting the office in this Buddhist Maha Vihara, I think it is about time that the EXCO should make use of the 30th Anniversary Celebration to raise funds to acquire our own building. It might not necessary be a whole block but perhaps an office unit where all our important documents, photographs and files can be permanently and safely kept. The office will also be our Administrative and Resource Center. We can then have our meetings in our own office to hold our regular Executive Committee meetings. Of course we should also solicit allocation from our Federal Government so as to lessen our burden to expedite the purchase of our own nest.
When I was attending the AGMs of the various state branches, I gathered some feedbacks which Executive Committee must note and that is the concern for the lack of communication, rapport and interaction between MCCBCHST National and State Branches. As a remedy, MCCBCHST national will organise more workshops with all our branches. I personally feel that our Anniversary Celebration should be an Annual event and one table FOC should be allocated to all our branches. This will promote interaction, understanding and a sense of belonging among all our members.
Since the formation of Jawatankuasa Mempromosikan Persefahaman dan Keharmonian Di Antara Penganut Agama (JKMPKA) or Action Committee for the Promotion of Understanding Amongst Adherents of Religions was formed more than 2 years ago, under the leadership of our beloved late Datuk Hajah llani Bt Dato’ Hj. Isahak and now helmed by Datuk Azman Amin, Ketua Pengarah JPNIN and the 2 advisors; Ministers in the PM’s Dept Y.B. Senator Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon and Senator Major Gen. (Rtd) Dato’ Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. Members of JKMPKA were appointed by the Cabinet and the Prime Minister which comprise of MCCBCHST, ACCIN, INSAF, JAKIM, JPNIN, IKIM, Muslim and Non-Muslim leaders from Sabah and Sarawak.
4 Working Committees were formed, each headed by a Muslim and a Non-Muslim.
JK 1 Understanding and Issue Co-Chaired by Reverend Dr. Hermen Shastri. This committee is tasked with finding amenable solutions to the many issues confronting our nation today.
JK 2 Joint Activities Co-Chaired by Mr. RS. Mohan Shan had organised many working tours to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Kota Bahru, Kelantan and Kuching Sarawak. While in Kuching, MCCBCHST had taken the initiative to invite representatives of the different religious committees to come for a dialogue with the intent to formalise the formation of MCCBCHST Sarawak.
JK 3 Mediation Co-Chaired by me, have come up with a Certificate course in Religious Mediation together with IIUM. Among the topics in the course outline are Understand the 6 major Religions i.e. Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.
JK 4 Initiatives with National and State leaders is headed by Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips. This committee amongst other organised the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week (WIHW), a proposal by King Abdullah of Jordan rectified and accepted by the United Nations. WIHW is to be Celebrated from the 1 – 7 February each year. JKMPKA had had organised a series of Interfaith activities over a 2 week period, culminating with a luncheon with our Honourable PM, cabinet ministers and leaders of the 6 major religions. This year we belief that interfaith should start young and JKMPKA together with the Ministry of Education had organized a number of Interfaith activities and dialogues in primary, secondary and universities.
Through all these activities, leaders of various religious communities really get to know one another, understand all religions and together try to solve interfaith issues. We must continue to promote Interfaith Understanding and Harmony Among Adherents of all religions, ensuring Malaysians continue to as 1 MALAYSIA, as in Sabah and Sarawak. We must not just promote within the framework of JKMPKA but to promote religious understanding and harmony in the communities where we live.
Reports from State Branches reflected a lot of joint activities in welfare and charitable work. MCCBCHST, being a member of the National Council of Organ Transplantation and Donation should also promote organ donations during such activities like blood donation campaigns, gotong-royong etc.
Of course we must not lose sight of the objectives of MCCBCHST and that is to champion the rights of the non Muslims, the many cases of conversion issues, opposition against Syariah compliance laws, being a watchdog for clean, transparent governance, both at Federal and State Governments, Guidelines on the allocation of land for Places of Worship, burial grounds, crematoriums and columbarium.
MCCBCHST will always defend our religious rights and sensitivities, impositions of restrictions, our opposition to imposition of restrictions and Islamic Architecture on Non-Islamic places of worship and Hudud Laws. Let us all pray that Malaysians will continue to live in peace, religious understanding and harmony.
Dao Zhu Ci Bei
Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow