HarmonyMalaysia

Many Faiths, One Nation: our vision for Malaysia

MCCBCHST – ENGAGE WITH UNDERSTANDING, COMPASSION, HONESTY AND RESPECT

Press Release – 12 July 2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) calls upon all concerned Malaysian citizens to hold Thanksgiving Prayers in their respective places of worship for the relatively orderly “rally” held last Saturday. They may have broken the unjust and uncalled for ban but they did so in a peaceful manner to exercise their right of assembly as enshrined in our Constitution, the inviolate supreme law of our nation.

MCCBCHST is confident that the untoward events of 9th July 2011 could have been prevented if the authorities had dealt with the issues raised by Bersih from the outset at the negotiation table with Understanding, Compassion, Honesty and Respect as required in all our great religious teachings.

MCCBCHST re-iterates its strong support for every Malaysian’s right to peaceful assembly as enshrined in our Federal Constitution under Article 10 (1) (b) and in Article 20 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and remind the authorities that freedom of opinion and expression too is provided for under Article 19 of the UDHR.

The most important lesson to be learnt from the 9th July 2011 event is that the authorities must transform their mindset and recognise that Malaysians today are much more learned, informed, matured and sophisticated beings than they are made out to be.

MCCBCHST fully endorses the statement by Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Malaysia (Proham):

“The core matter of the Bersih rally must be addressed namely to address the concerns in the election system and the call for a free and fair election. Proham calls for the government to establish an independent mechanism to review these concerns either through a Royal Commission or a Parliamentary Select Committee……”.

MCCBCHST supports the call for the Federal Government to immediately sit with all concerned parties to find an appropriate, just and equitable solution. We reiterate that all dialogue must be based on the principles of Understanding, Compassion, Honesty and Respect as required in all our great religious teachings.

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

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July 12, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST- OUR HEARTFELT AND SINCERE CONDOLENCES

Sunday 10 July 2011

The President and Executive Committee of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Puan Rosni Malan and her family on the demise of her beloved husband and father of her children the late En Baharuddin bin Ahmad on 9 July 2011.

We grieve with the immediate family and relatives of the deceased at this sudden and unexpected loss. We pray that the family will find strength and guidance to cope with their loss during this difficult period of bereavement.

Reverend Dr Thomas Philips
President
MCCBCHST

July 10, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST CALLS UPON ALL MALAYSIANS TO PRAY FOR PEACE, UNITY AND HARMONY

Media Statement 7 July 2011

Over the last few weeks we have been inundated with events pertaining to the proposed Bersih 2.0 Rally to be held on 9 July 2011. Not one day has passed without some reference to the Bersih Rally by both those for and against it. This has created unwelcome tension in the country.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) calls upon all parties to heed the advice of our DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Di Pertuan Agung.

We as Religious Leaders in this multi religious nation of ours Malaysia, call upon people of all faiths to hold special prayers beginning 8 July in our respective places of worship for peace, unity and harmony to prevail in our beloved country once again.

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

July 7, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST: PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY IS A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT

30.06.2011

Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) notes that Bersih Organisers, Perkasa and UMNO Youth are intending to hold peaceful Assemblies on 9 July 2011.

MCCBCHST is of the view that since our Federal Constitution, the Supreme Law of our land provides under Article 10(1)(b) that “all citizens have the right to assemble peaceably and without arms”, the proposed assemblies by the said groups should be allowed. Further, one of the pillars of our Rukun Negara is “Keluhuran Perlembagaan”. i.e. Supremacy of the Constitution. Even the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) has stated that the People have the constitutional right to assemble peaceably (The Star 28/6/2011) and the Government should allow it.

Any pre-emptive banning of proposed peaceful assemblies would mean that one has no right to peaceful assembly, making the fundamental guarantee illusory. The police have the duty and the capacity to control such assemblies and can designate routes and separate the different groups as has been done during the recent by-elections.

The fact that such assemblies may cause traffic jams and inconvenience the people is not a legitimate reason. People generally are prepared to put up with some inconveniences in furtherance of their fundamental rights. Many national and religious functions and processions are held on regular basis and Malaysians have accepted these inconveniences as part and parcel of the heritage of our Malaysian Society.

MCCBCHST therefore appeal to the police to act professionally in the matter and allow people to exercise their fundamental right to peaceful assembly. The police can call the groups concerned and make arrangements on the route each may take. On the day itself police should be there to separate the groups and to control the traffic and crowd with humanity and professionalism.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) call upon all concerned citizens of Malaysia to earnestly pray that all parties concerned will conduct themselves with decorum and respect as we approach the day of the proposed peaceful assembly.

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

June 30, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST: Revoke Conversion of a mentally-ill woman

22.06.2011

The MCCBCHST is disturbed to learn about the conversion of Eow Su Chin, 23, a mentally-ill woman to Islam recently. We have learnt from the Newspaper report appearing in STAR on 10/6/2011 that Eow Su Chin has been certified to have the mental age of a 7 year old. We appreciate that while the Islamic religious department of Balik Pulau where the conversion took place may not initially have been aware of the mental state of Eow Su Chin (now known as Sofiah Eow Abdullah) before her conversion, but now after having been shown the medical records of the mental incapacity and the fact that Eow Su Chin had been taken away from a Handicap Centre, the Islamic Department’s inaction in not righting a wrong does not bode well for the Department.

The following wrongs appear to have been committed in this case against Eow Su Chin: –

(i) The person “Kassim” who took Eow Su Chin away from the Eden Handicap Centre must have been aware of her mental incapacity. He thus may be Guilty of having removed Eow Su Chin from a place of safety without lawful authority which can amount to abducting a woman to compel her marriage, an offence under Section 366 of Panel Code.

(ii) The Islamic Religious Department of Balik Pulau by not revoking the conversion Departmentally on learning of the mental state of Eow Su Chin may be guilty of Committing a moral wrong.

(iii) Since Conversion of Eow Su Chin was done in haste, it appears that no prior religious counseling had been given to her.

The MCCBCHST therefore calls on the Balik Pulau Religious department to departmentally revoke the Conversion of Eow Su Chin to Islam, in view of her incapacity to give consent for conversion to Islam. This will go a long way in righting a wrong that has been committed to Eow Su Chin and her family.

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

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

SCHOLARSHIPS – GAPS POSITION IN CONFLICT WITH CONSTITUTION

08.06.2011

GAPS (Gagasan Anti Penyelewengan Selangor) President Hamidah Khairuddin has been reported to have said recently that only Malays and Bumiputras have the right to receive Government Scholarship and Federal Constitution says that only Malays and Bumiputras have the right to receive a Scholarship. This POSITION OF GAPS is UNTENABLE as shown below.

The only provision relating to special position of Malays in the Federal Constitution
Relating to Scholarship is Article 153.

The following POINTS in respect of Article 153 should be noted:-

– It only talks about special position of the Malays and natives of Sabah and Sarawak. Special rights is not mentioned in the Article.

– The word Bumiputra is not found anywhere in the Federal Constitution.

– Article 153 (1) imposes responsibility on the Yang Dipertuan Agong in addition to safeguarding this special position of the Malays to also safeguard the legitimate interests of the other Communities.

– Article 153 (2) allows (amongst others) reservation for Malays and Natives of Sabah and Sarawak “…… of such proportion as he may deem reasonable ….. of Scholarship ……”. Thus a reasonable proportion of Scholarships awarded can be reserved for Malays and Natives of Sabah and Sarawak.

– The use of the word “reasonable proportion” rules out reservation of 100% of Scholarship for Malays. Therefore, after reservation of reasonable proportion, the balance should also be available to the Non-Malays, as they have legitimate interest in it.

– Article 153 is found under PART XII “General and Miscellaneous provision” of the Constitution. It therefore has to strike a balance with Fundamental rights Guaranteed under the Federal Constitution in Part II, for eg. Article 8 (1) which states “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”.

From the above it is clear that Article 153 only allows (amongst others) a reservation of reasonable proportion of Scholarship for Malays and Natives of Sabah and Sarawak. What is reasonable has not been defined. But the use of word “reasonable” connotes a fair percentage and the word “proportion” rules out absolute or total percentage.

It may be pertinent to state here that the Lord Reid Commission had proposed a 15-year limit on this special position provision under Article 153 as there was objection from the various communities to its extension for a longer period. But in the final draft this limitation is not found. It is said that the Alliance partners had agreed to allow the Malays to decide when this special position provision should be revoked.

This is what the LORD REID COMMISSION had stated in respect to ARTICLE 153:

“We recommend that after 15 years there should be areview of the whole matter and that the procedure should be that the appropriate Government should cause a report to be made and laid before the appropriate legislature; and that the legislature should then determine either to retain or to reduce any quota or to discontinue it entirely.”

Article 153 only allows reservation of reasonable proportion of quotas in 3 areas i.e. (i) positions in public service (ii) Scholarship, exhibitions etc. and (iii) obtaining permits or licences for operation of any trade or business. Thus, there cannot be quotas in other areas. Therefore any racial discrimination, for example, barring non-Malays from tenders, Impositions of compulsory price discounts in favour of Malays in housing projects, blanket barring of Non-Malays to public funded academic institutions, having courses which only cater for bumiputra students, etc. are in violation of Article 153 and Article 8 (Art. 8: All persons are equal before the law).

Therefore GAPS statement as reported is clearly Not Tenable and does not find any support in the Supreme law of the Federation – The Federal Constitution.

Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips
President
MCCBCHST

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

OUR HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES

23 May 2011

The President and Executive Committee of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) extend our sincere heartfelt condolences to the Muslim Community in Malaysia on the tragic loss of sixteen young lives at the Al-Taqwa orphanage in Hulu Langat due to the landslide.
We grieve with the immediate families and relatives of the deceased at this sudden and unexpected loss, and pray for the speedy recovery of those injured in the tragedy.

Reverend Dr Thomas Philips
President
MCCBCHST

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST: LET US WORK TOGETHER TOWARDS A HARMONIOUS, JUDICIOUS AND UNITED MALAYSIA

6th May 2011

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) is concerned by the statement issued by Dr Yusri Mohamad on behalf of Muslim NGO’s that Islam’s position in Malaysia is under siege.

How could Islam’s position be under siege when all public institutions and other Organs of Government are under the control of Muslims? We Quote ZAID IBRAHIM (Malaysia Today: 29/4/2011; http://www.zaiduntukrakyat.com).

“…Even without recent “unity call”, the Malays are in complete political control. More than two-thirds of the cabinet is Malay….more than two-thirds of Parliamentarians are Malay or Bumiputra. The Sultans are Malay. All except one of the Menteri Besars and Chief Ministers are Malay Bumiputra. Eighty-five percent of Civil Service is Malay, including the diplomatic Corps and the educational and judicial services. The Armed Forces and Police are composed primarily of Malays. Rela Members are mostly Malay.

….Government-linked companies (GLCS) such as Maybank, Petronas, Telekom Malaysia, TNB, Khazanah Nasional, PNB, Media Prima, Felda, Sime Darby and many others the vast majority of which are owned by the Government and managed by Malay-Bumiputras? The G-20 group of largest listed GLCS alone possesses RM353 bilion (around half) of the market capitalization of the entire Bursa Malaysia”.

We are further amazed to read that the designation of a Non-Muslim affairs exco in Penang is unconstitutional and threaten’s Islam’s position. There is no prohibition any where in the Federal Constitution against the designation of a Non-Muslim affairs exco. In fact, currently most states under Barisan Nasional have Non-Muslim Affairs Committees to address religious, places of worship, burial grounds and other issues faced by the Non-Muslims.

ISLAM’S POSITION
The MCCBCHST is not aware of any person or body having questioned Islam’s position as enshrined in Article 3 of the Federal Constitution.

ARTICLE 3(1) provides that Islam is the religion of the Federation and concludes with “…other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony in any part of the Federation.”

ARTICLE 3(4), provides that “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of the Constitution….” This means that Article 3 does not extinguish anything else in the constitution. Professor Shad Faruqi (STAR: 3/5/2011 page N51) stated:

“….Further, Article 3 (on Islam) does not extinguish anything else in the Constitution. Article 3(4) provides that “Nothing in this Article derogates from any other provision of this Constitution. This means that Articles 3 cannot be employed to challenge the validity of a drug trafficking law on the ground that some of its provisions were Un-Islamic (Che Omar Che Soh (1988). Nor-can Article 3 be relied on to trump any other constitutional provision – whether on fundamental rights or system of parliamentary government….”

Thus, one cannot use the position of Islam as the religion of the Federation to question other’s rights. It has to be based on the provisions of the Federal Constitution.

Therefore, fundamental and other rights guaranteed in the Federal Constitution cannot be over-ridden by Article 3 and some such rights are:-

Article 4(1) – “This Constitution is the Supreme law of the Federation………….”

Article 8(1) – “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law”.

Article 11(1) – “Every person has the right to profess and practice his religion and subject to clause (4) to propagate it”

Article 153 (1) – “The legitimate interest of other communities” most of the time ignored”.

Article 153 (9)- Which prohibits restriction of business or trade solely for Malays is also totally ignored.

The MCCBCSHT reiterates and accepts unequivocally the Position of Islam as the religion of the Federation as provided for by Article 3. We note however that Article 3 cannot be used to challenge any other constitutional position.

The MCCBCHST therefore calls on Dr Mohamad Yusri and the Muslim NGO’s to work together with all citizens towards a harmonious, judicious and united Malaysia.

Reverend Dr Thomas Philips
President
MCCBCHST

May 6, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST CALLS FOR PRAYER AS THE PEOPLE OF SARAWAK GO TO THE POLLS

As the people of Sarawak go to the polls, the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) call upon all concerned citizens of Sarawak to say special prayers in these critical times in the life of the State.

DURING THIS TIME LET US BE IN PRAYER that candidates for the State Election will

. LIVE UP TO THE COMMON RELIGIOUS VALUES which constitute the moral underpinning of the State and Nation.

· UNDERTAKE TO SERVE ALL OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS when elected.

· CAMPAIGN WITH GOODWILL AND HARMONY founded on mutual respect, understanding, consultation and dialogue.

· STRIVE TO ENSURE GREATER NATIONAL UNITY founded on the protection of the fundamental liberties and human rights of all Malaysians with justice and fairness for all.

MCCBCHST CALL ON THE PEOPLE OF SARAWAK TO

. INVEST TIME AND ENERGY to fulfil their responsibilities as citizens and be at their respective polling stations to be able to cast their votes.

· STUDY THE ELECTIONS MANIFESTO of all contesting parties and candidates with discernment.

· CAST THEIR VOTES WISELY without fear or favour according to their own conscience.

·BE MINDFUL OF AND TO IMPRESS UPON THE CANDIDATES THE CRITICAL ISSUES OF OUR NATIONAL LIFE including the following:

1. THE JUDICIARY AND THE POLICE FORCE must be independent in carrying out their constitutional duties.

2. THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM have been infringed over the years and in recent times despite numerous meetings which religious bodies such as the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism have been having with the authorities at the highest levels of government. Therefore,

· The sincerity of verbal assurances by the authorities must be demonstrated by actual implementation so that every bona fide religious community can fulfil their respective religious obligation.

· Arbitrary actions in blatant contravention of the Constitutional guarantees of religious freedom must stop.

. No religious community should be subjected or forced to conform to the religious rules of another religion.

Religious freedom is the very essence of justice and fairplay and forms the very foundation of any great democratic nation. National unity and integration will be adversely affected if no proper regard is given to matters of religious freedom.

A 48-year old independent nation including Sabah and Sarawak should rightly be expected to get her act together in regard to this.

3. THE FEDERAL CONSTITUTION’S INTEGRITY should be protected so that it will NOT lose its position as the guarantor of the rule of law and the people’s interest.

4. THE PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY SYSTEM of the nation is premised on the respective roles played by the ruling party and the loyal opposition. Both are needed
to ensure that democratic principles and dynamics are alive for the good of the State, providing the necessary checks and balances and spurring the State to greater standards of transparency and progress.

THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES WITHIN MCCBCHST ARE IN EARNEST PRAYER that whichever side win or lose in the coming electoral process, may the people of Sarawak be the real winners when their concerns and aspirations are addressed and resolved and election promises are kept to the benefit of all.

MAY OUR COUNTRY BE BLESSED WITH JUSTICE, PEACE, NATIONAL UNITY AND PROSPERITY!

Dated this 13th day of April 2011

Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips – President
Daozhang Tan Bon Sin – Deputy President
Venerable Ming Ji – Vice-President
Sardar V. Harcharan Singh – Vice-President
Mr. RS. Mohan Shan – Vice-President
Mr. Prematilaka KD Serisena – Hon. Secretary General

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

The members of the Council are:

Buddhist – Malaysian Buddhist Association, Buddhist Missionary Society of Malaysia and Sasana Abhiwurdhi Wardhana Society.

Christians – The Christian Federation of Malaysia comprising the Catholic Bishop’s Conference, Council of Churches of Malaysia & National Evangelical Christian Fellowship

Hindus – Malaysia Hindu Sangam

Sikhs – Malaysian Gurdwaras Council, Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia and Khalsa Diwan Malaysia

Taoist – Federation of Taoist Associations Malaysia

April 13, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment

MCCBCHST MEDIA STATEMENT

29th March 2011

TO;
THE STAR
MALAYSIAKINI

The MCCBCHST refers to news report in STAR today (29/03/2011) that Pembela has lodged a police report against this council alleging that seditious remarks were made over Bahasa Malaysia Bible issue.

The MCCBCHST action has so far been in accordance with the Law and the Constitution to protest against the Desecration of the Christians Malay Bible. How could defending one’s religious and constitutional rights through lawful means ever amount to sedition.

In fact the action of Pembela in filling a police report is tantamount to intimidation and may also be seditious because it appears to be calculated to confuse the people to act against the Council. In fact, Pembela should not be involved as the conditions imposed by Government do not refer to their Holy Scriptures.

We further note that Pembela did not mention the PAS Vice President Salahuddin Ayub’s name in their report (they had mentioned 2 other names) for he had clearly reiterated his party’s stand in Parliament on 27/3/2011 that Christians have the right to use the word Allah to refer to God. We believe that PAS is the leading and acknowledged Body to know about Islam and Pembela should approach them to have a better understanding.

Reverend Dr. Thomas Philips
President
MCCBCHST

March 29, 2011 Posted by | Public Statements | Leave a comment