HarmonyMalaysia

Many Faiths, One Nation: our vision for Malaysia

SEASON’S GREETINGS

Thursday, 22 December 2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), together with all our affiliated bodies and our individual members, take this opportunity, in this “season of goodwill and peace among all men,” to wish all our Malaysian Christian brothers and sisters

“A Very Blessed Christmas”

AND

to all Malaysians of every faith and ethnic origin in this blessed, bountiful, beautiful Malaysia – Truly Asia! the very best of health, wealth and happiness

“A Happy And Prosperous New Year”

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

December 22, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST: New Bill is against Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Assembly.

Media Statement – 2nd December 2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is against the new proposed Bill as it is restrictive, repressive and against Freedom of Assembly and against Freedom of Religion, 2 sacred Fundamental rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution.

The proposed Bill clearly gives the Police and the Home Minister more powers and is aimed at stifling democratic space.

MCCBCHST is particularly concerned that the new Bill now specifies places where public assembly cannot be held and they include all places of worship, hospitals, train stations, public transport terminals, kindergardens, schools and many others. This proposed provision in the Bill goes against the letter and spirit of Article 11 of the Federal Constitution which guarantees Freedom of Religion.

MCCBCHST is also against the following provision in the “Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011”, which title appears to mislead people into not knowing the true nature of amendments:-

(i)The bill appears to ban all demonstration including peaceful processions, unless approved by the police

(ii) Notification period of 10 days to police is too long. It does not recognise the right to spontaneous assembly when an important and urgent issue arise.

(iii) The removal of the requirement to obtain police permit is illusory as the Assembly cannot proceed if Police object. On notification of the proposed assembly, the police are to reply within 10 days listing conditions including whether could proceed. Thus the Assembly is still dependant on Police Approval.

(iv) If Police refuse permission, then Bill provides for appeal to Home Minister. This is not acceptable. The appeal should be to the Court.

(v) Processions and peaceful assemblies should be distinguished from street protests. The Bill must reflect this.

(vi) The police have been too much power to impose restrictions and set up conditions to hold gathering including duration of event, participant’s conduct and cleaning up costs. The Bill also gives the final say to refuse gathering on ground of cultural or religious sensitivity.

While Governments all over the world are opening up democratic space, we appear to be back tracking. Even, Myanmar which has the Military Junta governing the country, has now passed a “protest bill” which allows citizens to protest peacefully. The Myanmar Bill only requires demonstrators to inform authorities 5 days in advance and advises them to avoid Government buildings hospitals and embassies (The Sun 25/11/2011). Our bill is a far cry from this Myanmar Bill.

We urge the Government to listen to the many objections legitimately voiced and earnestly hope that the Bill would not be rushed through our Dewan Negara.

Finally, the MCCBCHST calls on all leaders of all faiths to dedicate every Friday, from 2 December 2011 to pray in their respective places of worship that the leaders of our nation have it in their hearts and minds to find the understanding, truth, respect, compassion and most of all, the wisdom, to withdraw the Peaceful Assembly Bill 2011 and engage all stakeholders.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

December 2, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST – ‘RIGHTS TO LIFE, LIBERTY, THE RIGHT TO THE DIGNITY OF THE PERSON AND THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY FOR ALL PERSONS

Media Statement – 4 November 2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is a national coalition of the named religious groups. The MCCBCHST recognises that the norms for sexual practices within each religion, as in numerous other matters, is governed by the commandments, laws, rules and regulations and values as set and practised within each religious group. Often, there are differences in a given subject between one religion and another in our coalition.

The MCCBCHST recognises these differences, respects their practice by members of that faith, opposes any attempt to impose the norms and/or values of one upon another and have, do, and will continue to support such norms or values of any religion as long as they meet universally recognized norms of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to life, the right to personal liberty, the right to the dignity of the person and the right to privacy, and respects the equal rights of all others.

MCCBCHST is against all forms of harrassment, intimidation, threats and violent attacks on any Malaysian including those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) community. Their right to personal liberty, dignity and privacy must be respected.

We also note that all Malaysians have a right to freedom of expression and can disagree with our existing laws. As long as they assemble in peace to discuss these matters, to educate and create awareness, and to seek law reform, their right to express themselves and to assemble peacefully must also be respected.

The MCCBCHST therefore condemns the hateful speech directed to members of that community to date, and the blanket ban on the Seksualiti Merdeka festival assembling peacefully in a private place to hold concerts, speeches and forums.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

November 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST – RESPECT THE RELIGIOUS SENSITIVITIES IN SCHOOLS

Media Statement – 4 November 2011

As Muslims in our country prepare for their holy festival of Hari Raya Haji we in the Malaysian Consultative Council for Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) wish our Muslims brothers and sisters Selamat Hari Haji.

However, we are concerned that a ritualistic sacrificing of cows in conjunction with the Hari Raya Haji celebrations is proposed to be held in schools on a school day in the presence of students.

We hold a dim view of this purported activity in front of our multi-racial and multi-cultural student population as it ignores the sensitivity of our school-going children and the larger mixed Malaysian society.

We call upon the relevant authorities to respect the sensitivities of our multi-religious society and implore them to halt this ritualistic ceremony in our schools, institutions of higher learning and other public places. We hold that the public places, especially schools, are not the right place for the performance of this ritual that pertains only to the Muslim community. It does not augur well for the promotion of harmony and peace among our varied peoples.

The maintenance and promotion of peace and harmonious living should be the prime concern and focus of education authorities among our students and not instil hate, suspicion disgust in them in their formative years.

MCCBCHST pray and hope for good sense to reign among us and call upon the authorities to do the needful and put a stop to this ritual of sacrificing cows before our students before it escalates into something undesirable in the future. God bless this Nation of ours – Blessed, Bountiful and Beautiful.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chioew, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

November 4, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

CONVERSION OF SHOBANAA A/P GENGATHARAN

MCCBCHST MEDIA STATEMENT
01.11.2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is alarmed at the manner in which Shobanaa Devi A/P Gengatharan, a Hindu, was converted to Islam. The family had enrolled Shobanaa as a student at the Institute Pendidikan Guru Kampus Perlis to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to become a teacher. Instead of imparting such knowledge and skills, 3 lecturers from the Institute proselytised and influenced her to convert to Islam, which is contrary to the Institute’s role to impart knowledge and to be sensitive to all religions. The family members were totally unaware of the conversion and found out only about 2 months later of her conversion on 15 July 2011.

The lecturers, being responsible for imparting knowledge should in fact have safeguarded the religious, cultural and social interests of the student to ensure unity, peace and harmony among students in this multiracial institution of learning.

The implications of a conversion to Islam are very serious and far reaching. Conversion out of Islam is almost impossible. Non Muslim next of kin are disinherited. Spouses are divorced by Syariah Courts and children converted without the non converting spouse’s consent.

All these matters must be urgently addressed. The Cabinet’s decision of 21 April 2009 that only one parent cannot convert a child and that the religion of a child under 18 years of age would continue to be his or her religion at the time of birth should be immediately implemented.

Comprehensive legal reforms have been proposed by the MCCBCHST to remedy the current unacceptable situation facing converts and the families of converts. Law reforms are stuck and have not moved despite the government’s assurance of action.

As such, until the reforms requested by the MCCBCHST are implemented, the MCCBCHST unanimously decided at its Executive Council meeting on 29 September 2011 that laws must be drafted to provide that a non Muslim cannot be converted to Islam until immediate family members have been given 6 months prior notice and informed in writing of the intended conversion.

MCCBCHST therefore calls on the Federal Government to introduce necessary laws or amendments to remedy the current injustice caused to non Muslims by conversions of one family member to Islam.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

November 1, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

Deepavali Greetings from MCCBCHST

Tuesday 25 October 2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council on Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) takes this opportunity to wish all fellow Malaysians of the Hindu faith A happy and Prosperous Deepavali. Let us Malaysians of different races and religions, join our Hindus in the joyous Deepavali celebrations.

May Peace, Joy, Love and Harmony fill your home during this Festival of Lights when Good triumphed over Evil. Let us continue to work together alongside each other for the continued peace and stability in this our Nation Malaysia – Blessed, Bountiful and Beautiful.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

October 25, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST: HUDUD IS IN CONFLICT WITH FEDERAL CONSTITUTION

MCCBCHST MEDIA STATEMENT
11.10.2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) believes that the Hudud debate on the matter should be carried out rationally and within the Constitutional Scheme of things. It cannot be carried out in disregard of the Federal Constitution.

It is not in dispute that Syariah Courts have jurisdiction only over matters as mentioned in 9th Schedule LIST II and the concurrent List (LIST II). It does not have jurisdiction in respect of offences except in so far as conferred by Federal Law. Matters under LIST II are mainly dealing with the Marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption, guardianship, etc.. Further, Syariah Courts have only jurisdiction over persons professing the religion of Islam.

It must be noted that the State Legislative’s authority to legislate under List II is LIMITED by the words “except in regard to matters included in the Federal List”. And included in the Federal List are civil and criminal law and procedure and offences like murder, rape, theft, robbery, unnatural sex or incest. Most of these are also prohibited by the Hudud, but since they are included in the Federal list, the Syariah Courts have no Jurisdiction over them.

If Syariah Courts were also to be given jurisdiction over these Criminal offences, then this would create a parallel system which is against the General structure of the Constitution.

On this issue, Profesor Shad Saleem Faruqi states: (STAR (Wednesday) – 5/10/11):

“Actually the Federal Constitution has provided clear guidelines about who may legistate for crimes, who may prosecute criminal offences, which courts may try offenders, who is the subject of the law and what penalties may be imposed. The Constitution is supreme and its imperative cannot be lightly disregarded..

The clear intention of the 1957 Constitution was to allocate almost all penal powers to the federation and to confer on the states only residual powers over Syariah offences like khalwat, zina, skipping of Friday prayers and failure to observe the compulsory fasts during Ramadan…………..

In sum, attempts by some states to legislate hudud laws and to impose hudud penalties will bring forth embarrassing constitutional law issues pitting the constitution against religion..”

The MALAYSIAN BAR CONSTITUTIONAL LAW committee member Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir (NST- (3/10/2011) stated:

“The Federal Constitution cannot simply be amended to allow for the implementation of hudud even if the amendment was proposed to be passed with a two-third’s majority. This is because the constitution’s basic founding structure was based on secularism and not theocracy”.

Former law minister Datuk Seri Zaid lbrahim was of the view that (NST- 28/9/2011):

“It is impossible to have two sets of laws for Muslims in the country. People must understand that Hudud is a criminal Law and for it to be implemented, the Federal Constitution Need to be amended”.

A human rights lawyer MALIK IMTIAZ has asserted that Hudud law debate is a non-issue “……… the Federal Constitution does not allow two parallel criminal systems to exist……” (STAR – 27/9/2011)

The MCCBCHST therefore calls upon all parties to respect our Federal Constitution. Imposition of Hudud would require an amendment to the Federal Constitution and would affect Non-Muslim rights that are guaranteed in the Constitution. The legal fabric of the constitution should not be disturbed.

Any argument that if the majority of people in a State are in favour of Hudud, and therefore people must accept this change is fallacious. A constitution cannot be overthrown because of the popular opinion. The fundamental rights guaranteed in the constitution cannot be changed by the majority. A single citizen shall be entitled to challenge to uphold his rights.

Changing fundamental character of a constitution because of majority will is dangerous. Can the Buddhists in Thailand (who form 95% of the Population) say they want to be governed by the Buddhist principles and want the constitution amended. Again, can the Christians who form the majority in our neighbouring Philipines be allowed to say they want to he ruled according to their personal religious beliefs.

Thus, all religions must respect the sensitivities and rights of other religious communities and strive to live in peace and harmony. Any changes to be done must be done in accordance with and not in disregard of our constitution.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW,AMK,BKM,PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

October 11, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

Press Release: New Executive Committee of Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) 2011 – 2013

29.09.2011

At the 29 Annual General Meeting of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism the following were elected to the Executive Council for the term 2011 – 2013.

President : Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow from the Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia

Deputy President : Sardar Jagir Singh from the Malaysian Gurdwaras Council

Hon. Secretary General : Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena from Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society

Hon. Treasurer General : Mr. V. M. Thiagarajan from Malaysian Hindu Sangam

The Aims and Objectives of MCCBCHST is:-

AIMS
(a) To promote understanding, mutual respect and co-operation between people of different religions.

(b) To study and resolve problems affecting all inter religious relationships.

(c) To make representations regarding religious matters when necessary.

(d) To advance and promote the religious, cultural, educational and social rights and interests of the religious bodies.

OBJECTIVES
(a) To uphold and promote the ideas as enunciated in the Rukun Negara.

(b) To promote unity, harmony and understanding amongst people of different religions through conferences, seminars and other channels.

(c) To print, publish and distribute journals, periodicals, leaflets or books that the Executive Committee may consider desirable for the promotion of its objects, with the proviso that, prior approval must be obtained from the competent authority.

Kindly find attached a full list of the new office bearers.

Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow, AMS – President
Sardar Jagir Singh – Deputy President
Venerable Sing Kan – Vice President
Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – Vice President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan, JMW, AMK, BKM, PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

MCCBCHST OFFICE BEARERS 2011/2013
President : Daozhang Tan Hoe Chieow
Deputy President : Sardar Jagir Singh
Vice President : Venerable Sing Kan
Vice President : Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips
Vice President : Mr. RS. Mohan Shan
Hon. Secretary General : Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena
Hon. Deputy Secretary General: Sardar Hargopal Singh Gill
Hon. Treasurer General : Mr. V. M. Thiagarajan
Hon. Deputy Treasurer General: Reverend Dr. Hermen Shastri
Exco Member : Dato’ Chee Peck Kiat
Exco Member : Ms. Sally Chee Lai Yan
Exco Member : Reverend Fr.Clarence Devadass
Exco Member : Elder Tan Kong Beng
Exco Member : Dr. M. Bala Tharmalingam
Exco Member : Mr. CM. Kopalan
Exco Member : Sardar V. Harcharan Singh
Exco Member : Sardar Bagh Singh Sandhu
Exco Member : Daozhang Soo Kim Chua
Exco Member : Daozhang Lau Chean Kiat
Exco Member : Daozhang Ooi Tse Tzuu
Exco Member : Mr. Lim Theng Kau
Hon. Auditor : Mr. Chua Chong Kee
Hon. Auditor : Mr. Samuel Ang
Hon. Auditor : Mr. R. Gopini
Hon. Auditor : Sardar Piara Singh
Hon. Auditor : Ms. Loi Choo Mooi
Legal Panel Member : Mr. Leonard Teoh
Legal Panel Member : Mr. K. Shanmuga
Legal Panel Member : Mr. Ng Chek
Legal Panel Member : Mr. Liu Chong Sin

September 29, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE NATION MUST BE LED WITH UNDERSTANDING, TRUTH, COMPASSION, JUSTICE AND RESPECT

08.08.2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) unreservedly condemns the unwarranted raid on the premises of the Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) on the evening of 3 August 2011 by officers of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) and the police which clearly breached the constitutionally guaranteed, and internationally recognised, sanctity of a holy place of worship – an event which has been confirmed by the Malaysian AIDS Council to have been organised to raise funds.

MCCBCHST fully supports the statements already released by the Selangor Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim; by Prof. Datuk Hamdan Adnan, Deputy Chairman (on behalf of the Exco) of the Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia (Proham); by the Chairman, Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing, and the Executive Committee of the Christian Federation of Malaysia; by Rev. Dr. Hermen Shastri, General Secretary of the Council of Churches Malaysia and similar sentiments (that this action sets a dangerous precedent and makes a mockery of the sanctity and inviolability of all religious places in our beloved country) yet to be expressed by all other responsible, just and right-minded Malaysians (and organisations) of every race, faith and political inclination.

MCCBCHST is especially heartened by the prompt action of Menteri Besar, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and the Selangor State Government on this fiasco by JAIS. We are further encouraged by his statement that “the State is always open to engagement and dialogue regarding the harmonious and mutually respectful co-existence of different religious communities and appreciate the efforts of all who seek to build a more united society.”

We are astonished as to how using the words “Quran” and “Pray” in speech can amount to proselytising towards Muslims when these very words are used every day by Malaysians when conversing with each other.

JAIS’ action sets a dangerous precedent which must be stopped and condemned by all peace-loving Malaysians. The constitutionally guaranteed and internationally recognised sanctity of all places of worship cannot be compromised, and this unprecedented violation must be investigated and those responsible, appropriately punished.

The Press (Berita Harian and Harian Metro of 6 July, 2011) reported that “Muslims questioned that night confirmed that they had been asked to convert.” These reports, to the best knowledge of the MCCBCHST, did not identify the claimants nor state the basis for their making such statements. Such witnesses must be made available to an independent Inquiry, which must be instituted immediately, to determine their qualification to bear such witness, to corroborate such evidence and to verify it.

We urge the Federal Government to expeditiously launch a thorough investigation into this fiasco. If the newspapers in question are found to have published false statements likely, or meant, to incite religious or racial hatred between Malaysians, the authorities must initiate the necessary action to punish them to the full extent provided for in our laws. All 120 guests who attended this multi-racial appreciation dinner deserve an unconditional apology from the raiding parties. The government of the day must also come forth to assure the Malaysian non-Muslim communities that such untoward incidents will never recur.

The MCCBCHST must highlight the systematic and deliberate attempts this year by many of “those who walk the national corridors of power” to create conflict among the citizens of different races and religions in our beloved country by driving wedges between them. There is ample evidence in “the Interlok controversy” (January); “the Alkitab issue” (February); the unproven and ludicrous accusations in the media of attempts to “make Christianity the official religion” (May); the even more ludicrous charge against the illegally detained Sungei Siput MP, Dr. Michael Jayakumar and others, of “waging war against the Yang DiPertuan Agong” (June); the absurd charge of “reviving Communism” on the PSM 6 under Section 3(1) of the Emergency (Public Order and Prevention of Crime) Ordinance 1969,” (July); profiling leaders of Bersih as “traitors to the nation” (July) and unfounded allegations against the Christian church of “proselytizing Muslims” (August). These insidious efforts must be stopped forthwith if we are to preserve the hard-earned peace and harmony between our peoples of the past half-century.

Finally, the MCCBCHST calls on all leaders of all faiths to dedicate every Friday, from 16 August till 16 September, 2011 during the month-long celebrations of our 54 years of Independence as Malaya and 48 years as Malaysia to pray in their respective places of worship that the leaders of our nation have it in their hearts and minds to find the understanding, truth, respect, compassion and most of all, the wisdom, to justly govern this blessed, bountiful and beautiful Malaysia, home to us all, in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the land.

Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – President
Daozhang Tan Bon Sin, AMN – Deputy President
Sardar V. Harcharan Singh, JMN – Vice President
Venerable Ming Ji – Vice President
Mr.RS. Mohan Shan, JMW, AMK, BKM, PJK – Vice President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Honorary Secretary General

August 8, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

RAMADAN MUBARAK GREETINGS FROM MCCBCHST

02.08.2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) conveys its warmest Ramadan Mubarak greetings to all Malaysian Muslims.

Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world reflect upon the wisdom and guidance that comes with faith, and the responsibility that human beings have to one another, and to God. This is a time when families gather for “iftar”, friends host “iftars”, and meals are shared. But Ramadan is also a time of intense devotion and reflection – a time when Muslims fast and pray during the day and do the special Terawih prayers at night; in addition to looking out for others who are in need.

We once again wish you a blessed month of Ramadan.

Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips
President
MCCBCHST

August 2, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment