Mystery surrounds grants for Sibu churches

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Mystery surrounds the RM1.75 million in grants to four churches in Sibu – which could change the whole face of the controversy.

What prompted the federal government to award the grants to these churches during the campaign? (The churches had reportedly applied for the grants quite some time ago.) Did government officials actually meet the leaders of these churches during the campaign before deciding to award the grants?  If there was such a meeting, was there an unsolicited government offer to award these grants during the campaign? Or more seriously, did the churches press for the funds to be granted?

This is what the churches in Sibu have to clarify. If they have already received the money, they need to inform the public whether they are now going to return this tainted money. If they have not yet received the money, they should let us know whether they are now going to reject it.

The same goes for the mission schools.

Can we now also get a commitment from all churches, mission schools and religious institutions that they will not accept funds once elections are imminent?

This is an excerpt from the report in the Malaysian Insider:

Sibu churches given federal cash ahead of vote
By Adib Zalkapli
May 16, 2010

SIBU, May 16 — Four Sibu Methodist churches were given special grants totalling RM1.75 million from the federal government yesterday in the final hours of the by-election campaign.

The award was presented by a representative from the deputy prime minister’s office, according to a report in today’s The Sunday Post.

The money for the church was on top of the RM15 million promised to local schools and a RM5 million pledge by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to alleviate flooding in Rajang Park if his candidate were to win in today’s election.

The Sunday Post report added that the money would be used for upgrading and extension works of church buildings in the city with a pre-dominantly Methodist population.

The four churches are the En Tao Methodist Church, Tien Tao Methodist Church, which received RM500,000, Sing Ang Tong Methodist Church (RM400,000) and Hwai Ang Tong Methodist Church (RM350,000).

Sibu SUPP publicity chief Daniel Ngieng told The Malaysian Insider the churches have applied for the special grants for quite some time.

“They applied from the government and the DPM agreed to it,” said Ngieng.

Ngieng said the four churches have about 5,000 active members.

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Casey

If you are asking the churches to return the money, why not ask the associations, the schools and individuals also to return their grants.

Many are commenting without knowing all the facts. Not a fair judgement.

anak sarawak

Give the money to charity…to the rural and urban poor!

Snowy

What I dont understand is why is the person offering the money not punished. It is really the rakyat’s money and it is used to buy votes. Can the rakyat have a say in this money. Since it is already given or promised and the churches would look bad taking it. It would be a real shame giving it back to the government to abuse. Give the money to charity.

jesse g

1.7million ringgit? the churches should not accept it. it is money politics by the barisan government and it is also a form of bribery to fish for votes. shame, shame double shame. why give the money now when it was requested quite some time ago. barisan should practise what they preach.

Abang Adek

As I see it, the Methodist Church sold its soul when it asked for and took the money offered by the BN. The Methodists of Sibu are just like Judas of the New Testament. Betray Jesus in exchange for silver. In this case, the Methodist Churches betrayed their Gospel values for political bribes. Way to go Methodists…!!! … while the poor and oppressed Christians of Sibu scrimp and scrounge for a living. Oh, and don’t forget to praise the Lord daily from your cushy air-conditioned churches! I’m sure Jesus is really proud of you guys.

Gan

Some said, return the money …

Some said, wait a minute, afterall it is the RAKYAT’s money, why return…

Looks like no one can resist the temptation of money, ya?

Maybe Tokotmisu is right, use the money to help the natives…

I must add, the church must not take a cent, because to me, it is simply not a right thing to do.

I saw a picture of a pastor/bishop with the desperate PM, and the pastor/bishop was smiling happily…

I just wonder that is right because some how it was giving out the wrong message ???

K

It is interesting to see the warped logic of our resident Pakatan fanboys and gals. On one hand they claim BN bribes and that the govt is corrupted. But on the other hand, they say it is rakyat’s money and the churches should keep it. This is akin to saying that it is ok to rob the banks since the money belongs to the people. However, I am looking at this issue from another perspective. It is immaterial when and if they asked for funds. What is important is their unethical action of accepting grants from the govt during a… Read more »

Taikohtai

Before BN and the White U… came, the Sarawakians had the land and they had the Holy Book. Now they have the land and the Sarawakians the Holy Book.

Tokomitsu

I would say give the money back to BeEnd. But on second thoughts if they have received the money why not set up a trust fund to develop the marginalised and backward Iban longhouses in the constituency. Bring them water and electricity and provide animal husbandary to the Ibans. Make sure the monies are accounted for and that the funds come from the churches and not BeEnd

My2cen

Why return the money?? It’s the rakyat’s money anyway. Better in our hands than the govt’s hands! Perhaps they can all donate back some money for the flood mitigation project since Najib say he’s still thinking about it! Problem solved. No need to beg for some more until next election!

johanssmKhunPana

In the event the churches decide to reject the money why not use it to help out the poor.

SzeThoWengHo

……lets get real. If you return the money, they will use it for the next buy-election. Take the money, put it to good use. Poverty is endemic in Sarawak. Please drop the holier than tou attitude…Anil.

Jong

Anil, why should the church/religious institution return the money or reject it? Please be reminded it’s tax-payers’ MONEY, not Najib’s or BN’s!

But we call for transparency and accountability from them. The people must know what is going on.

Navin

I don’t think they should be given back to the Govt.

Non Malay organisations hardly get any grants normally.

It is just to buy their votes for the election that they are given ‘grants’.

This is the time to get their Ang Paws every 5 years or sooner during a buy election

stoney

Ha ha! The holier-than-thou are now in the spotlight.

And who pays the lavish expenses of all the political overlords and their bagmen flying in from West Malaysia – flight, accomodation, food, security, transport? You know who. And they also stop working as your servants, which is what you elected them to do.

Antares

What makes anyone think churches are exempt from greed? They’re managed by humans, aren’t they?

teh ewe leng

Yes, we too want to know.

Bigjoe

Churches apply for grants all the time. Most of the time they are not even given a reply. So at anytime there are always churches with grant applied outstanding. If the Church leaders met the politician before the election, I doubt the church leader agreed to anything with the politician or even the politician asked for anything. I am not saying its totally out of question but really what controversy of one or two stupid people or act if there is. Its a non-issue. Getting money before election or anytime for a church /school or any organisation or individuals even… Read more »

SamG

Why should the churches return it? It is the Rakyat’s money, and since they had applied for a grant way before the by-elections, let them have it.
It is so difficult to get such grants during normal times, so why look a gift horse in the mouth?

vflai

….mystery of the 1l7 mil. grants to the 4 churches??????!!!……………. aside from the 15 mil grants promised to local schools and the “i scratch your back, you scratch my back/i will give you what you want but you must also give me what i want” 5 mil ‘present’ to be given to solve the water woes of sib, if robert lau, the supp canditate wins,.,…….. these ‘generous’grants/gifts, sanctioned/agreed by the DPM as reported, ………. MUST BE BORN in mind, as reported, GIVEN in the final hours of the ‘buy’/bylection……one could only surmiss that with the overhelming support/drive of the sibu… Read more »

Dr.Chris Anthony

The Churches must be transparent in such financial dealings.They should lead the fight against the worst enemy of our nation – corruption.