Tuesday, February 10, 2009

New Political Realities in Malaysia

by Rev. Wong Fong Yang

Everyone in Malaysia is talking about the new political realities after the General Election in which the Barisan National, the ruling party was dented in its ego.

The new political realities: Umno's dominance is crippled. Its invincibility is exposed. Umno like the proverbial emperor is without clothes.

BN has never lost two third of Parliament seats but it did. Worst, BN lost 5 states to the opposition party, which is unprecedented. BN leaders wanted honest and brutal post mortem so that they could win back the hearts of the people. But whom are they hearing from?

The Barisan Rakyat is euphoric and in cloud nine and the Chief Minister of Penang, Lim Guan Eng and Menteri Besar of Selangor, Khalid had implemented clear policy of transparency and integrity. All tenders must be open tenders and for public view and scrutiny. It is to be totally above board. They are on the right track so far. But will power corrupt them eventually? Time will tell.

The arrogance as epitomized by wielding the keris at the Umno General Assembly, the blatant corruption at high places, the unfairness of awarding government contracts without open tenders and many other factors led to the downfall of BN. Umno Putra have benefited from the power of the ruling government. The Bumi Putra are resenting against the Umno Putra. Even Malays are not happy with the government. The swing votes were telling sign of protest.

Many Hindus temples were demolished, the poor Indians were marginalized and the pent up feelings finally exploded and shocked the nation. Social injustice as experienced by the minority Indians had brought about Hindraf rally- a tipping point that toppled Samy Vellu and brought about Tsunami effect in the General Election.

Churches and Christians have been harassed by the little Napoleans – banning the use of God's name Allah, banning of Christian books and literature which use the name Allah, demolition of Orang Asli church buildings. Christians have been denied legitimate places of worship. Fairness and justice is just empty slogan. Malaysia is a pluralistic society and not an Islamic republic.

The local councils are corrupted and incompetent. They shut their ears to the voice of protest by the Rakyat.

These days our RM $50 have shrunk.

My reflection on political realities:

The race-based policy by ruling party has been rejected by the Rakyat. Christians cannot go along with such ethos, as it is unbiblical.

Leaders whether political or religious are not to be self-serving but to serve others. If there is ambition in leadership, it must be ambition to serve others. The worldly system thinks of greatness in terms of mastery and rule, in God's kingdom, greatness is manifested in service. The way forward for BN and BR is to be humble in lowly service, to fear God and to be uncorrupted.

The greatness of a nation is not in its wealth or superiority in weaponry nor technological advances but how it reaches out and take care of the minority, the poor, the destitute, the marginalized regardless of race, creed or religion. Righteousness exalts a nation. Therefore national leaders must do what is right in the sight of God. Church must take the lead to share its wealth with the poor.

The Church must be awakened to its role in nation building. More Christians must participate in Public Square. Christians must be encouraged to take up politics as a vocation.

Church leaders must teach political theology and good governance to Christians. Church to model good governance and structure and practice.

Christians must learn the moral courage and moral vision of great men and women who brought changes to their nations (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Nelson Mandela, Aleksandar Solzhenitsyn, Ghandi, Aung San Suu Kyi…)

Church must see itself as an NGO that can play significant role in society.

Civil Society can act as check and balance for the government through wise and righteous policy.

Ordinary Rakyat can be a voice of conscience to the nation.

God can use righteous, fair-minded non-Christians to speak up against injustices.

Christians need to learn how to work alongside people of different faiths for the common good of society.

Racial integration and reconciliation are possible and Christians must take the lead by loving people and communities unconditionally.

Human hearts are corrupted. The depravity of sin is present in every human heart. Everyone needs the gospel. Evil structure and institution can only be changed when human hearts are transformed by the gospel.

We need to pray unceasingly for our nation.

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