Sibu churches miss opportunity

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The Sibu churches who received grants from the federal government during the recent by-election plan have missed the chance to take a public stand against vote-buying.

They intend to keep the money, their pastors offering a host of reasons, some of them maybe legitimate: it’s public money; they had applied for the money earlier; they went through proper procedures; what can they do if the money is given during the campaign; there were no conditions attached; they are tax-paying citizens as well.

One pastor was even reported as saying the grant was a “special opportunity given by God” for which the church should be grateful. (Now, that’s too much!) Another pastor even said the grant had nothing to do with the by-election.

Here’s the larger picture the pastors missed in their arguments: was there any certainty they were going to get those grants – if not for the Sibu by-election? What if many among the public, whose money it was in the first place, viewed the award and timing of those grants as vote-buying? Doesn’t that count?

Don’t these churches see that in returning the money and snubbing the giver, they would be deterring other attempts at vote-buying in future?

I think they lost a valuable opportunity to make a statement and public stand against vote-buying.

May they enjoy their grants and sleep well.

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leebeeteik

Whatever our views regarding the buying of votes-4 Sibu churches having missed opportunity to make a stand issue,Jehovah’s children must not fall into the trap of being disunited. If we do, we will really fall into the more sinister trap of being divided so that the arrogant/corrupt (whowever they may be) may rule. Take it as a lesson for all of us to begin to be more aware of the roles God has given us when He created and placed us on this land called Malaysia. Pastors must no longer close their eyes to local issues that affect all peoples… Read more »

Gray Hound

Well they say the love of money corrupts. How true that is. It seems that these people are just eager to get their hands on the money by graying the matter out as much as possible. Why does these national leaders only visit Sibu during the election time? Is this to say and show that the people of Sibu is only important when election nears? Why were they NOT visited by these big shots during non-election days? Why were the money given during the dizzy election campaign? The answer couldn’t be much clearer. It is to induce the 4 churches… Read more »

teguh

The money belong to the people. So what’s wrong with taking it?.

Besides, the churches are not voting the govt/BN but rather its members who I presume are not stupid enough to vote for the BN, as what happened in Sibu.

Jong

If you return the money which is the Peoples money, indirectly R… will go on a shopping spree in New York, London and Paris! You want that to happen?

Did you hear Idris Jala, Minister in PM Dept just said that this country will go bankrupt in 9 years? You want them to stay that long? Let’s make sure we wipe them out once and for all, GE-13!

Jeremiah

Can we all be a bit more creative? Is the dilemma for the 4 churches to just (a) pay back or (b) to keep the money? There is a third win-win option which is far better for everyone: (c) put the money in a 1Malaysia Anti-Vote Buying fund which will collect all previous questionable monies paid (e.g. Hulu Selangor school). Use this fund to counter any future offers by BN or Pakatan. I’ll bet you the fund will be a public relations success for democracy even if it may not match the incumbent government’s election budget. Then we can all… Read more »

SamG

Anil, The Sibu Churches HAVE TAKEN A SOLID stand against vote buying.
They have accepted the donations, with NO STRINGS attached. Never once did they say they ask their congregation to vote BN.
There is so much of work that needs to be done to help the down-trodden in East Malaysia.
These churches have done GREAT work for the poor, so just let it ride with the extra funding.

kee

Wah!!! I am confused now, dont know what is right and what is wrong… Of course, Anil is right to say that the Church should take this opportunity to make a stand against vote buying. I will be most proud of the Church if it does this, and i think the angels will clap and sing Halleluyah, praising God in the heavenlies… However, the churches have been poor for a long time and SUDDENLY, millions of ringgit just drop from heaven according to the pastors or maybe one of them to be precise. I think the only person who can… Read more »

Sam Tam

Anil. Whatever happened to – take the money – but vote as you should?

Even the opposition said in other buy elections that if they are offered the money, take it but you do not necessarily vote BN

The sums involved may be different but the principle is the same.

sabahan

I really cannot agree with you here, Anil. As long as the churches did not compel/encourage their members to vote BN, what is there to justify? So the timing is not good. Churches are starved of funds as it is. Rejecting such grants would be like cutting off the nose to spite the face. The grants given if returned by the church would have been used for some other (presumably less noble) purposes. Are we going to ask for the Rakyat to rip up roads that were repaired during by elections? Return cash gifts, cut off recently connected water/electricity? Schools… Read more »

Common Cents

Not a very applicable comparison here, Anil. You are comparing two very, very different circumstances.

I say it is fine to take the money. Probably most of the churchgoers voted for Pakatan as well.

I rather they take the money, otherwise UMNO will eat it all up. Frankly, you can make whatever stand you want Anil, and the churches could have done what you wanted them to do, but it won’t change one bit. UMNO could not care less about your stand or that of the churches.

So stop being so smug.

LBJ

These pastors are everything except being true to Jesus. Many of these born again are there in the business of religion, rather than to save the soul. Do you think they will give back the free money?

Ah BEng

We should all listen to Anwar Ibrahim.

Take the BN money. After all, it’s your money. BUT vote Pakatan. After all, that’s your right as a citizen.

You have the right to vote. You have the right to choose your representative. You have the right under the constitution. So, vote with a clear agenda for a better M’sia.

Leithaisor

So the Sibu churches have made their decision. A decision which I cannot agree with inspite of the points tendered like “prior application made”, “it’s public money”, etc. I still hold that it was a golden opportunity for the 4 churches to declare publically that anything which smacks, or may smack, of vote-buying is not acceptable. A money-cannot-buy chance to tell Najib to his face that his RM5m “You help me, I help you” deal is shameful and wrong. In the light of that blatant conditional offer to the Rejang Park folks, Would the churches have been willing to challenge… Read more »

Bigjoe

By my experience, Churches and Christians in this country do believe in separation of church and state. Actually secularity is a modern invention not traditional Christian one. In Western countries except for a small minority of religious right, churches preaches separation of church and state. In that sense, what is so surprising about churches in Malaysia not standing up clearly for separation of church and politics? We are a country confused about politics and religion. At the root, it comes from our dependency and lack of self-reliant system. As a secularist, I say if you don’t like what the church… Read more »

Jong

Holy …! This has nothing to do with your god lah. It’s the Peoples-GOD you should be thankful to. Yeah it’s tax-payers money, not Najib’s, not Taib’s nor BN’s or UMNO’s! They are put there to manage the nations coffer and if you don’t take the money, it will ultimately go deep into the pockets of this corrupt regime! Just take the money and use it wisely, handle with care and any balance do try to share it out to aid the hardcore poor and the underprivileged. Kow-tow and say “THANK YOU GOOD PEOPLE/TAX-PAYERS OF MALAYSIA, YOU MADE IT POSSIBLE”!… Read more »

knk

Oh yes, never mind, you may accept the so called fund, but never allow it to make you changed your mind on the ballot paper.

tan, tanjong bungah

Hi everyone,

I’d like to stress first that I’m not ‘preaching’ that “I’m holier than thou”. Though it’s the public’s money, I do agree with you, Mr Anil, that had it not been for the “buy-election”, would these churches have obtained the grants?

The pastors’ denial syndrom is only going to split their congregations’ positions! Anyway, like hasilox, we believe in god, but, at times, be a bit sceptical of people who claim to represent god!

Gerakan K

The pastors are the learned and the peaceful ones.

They value harmony, they appreciate contribution, they have a lot of noble things to do than causing tensions and conflicts.

They have no personal agenda. They intent to do good. In short they are not politicians like LGE and LKS.

Andrew

My philosophy is if BN want to give you money, take the money and then vote opposition!

Gerakan K

Anilnetto,

please lah. Don’t learn the bad thing from rocket. The religious people are the peaceful ones. They rarely use the word OPPOSE.

Also don’t learn the bad thing from the moon. Don’t mix politics and religions.

O

Ah… Prices of everything is going up, but, prices of padi are going down, just how much furher does BN want to exploit the poor farmers? Just like the stalks of padi in Gerakan flags, it had long dried up. Just cannot survive in new Malaysian political environment anymore. Need to resort to lies, spins, money, but, always rejected. A vote for DAP is a vote for PAS/Islamic State cannot work now, just what to do? The non Malays are joining PAS club at such huge numbers, as at yesterday it was already 38,000 members. Ah… they will very soon… Read more »

sunnyooi

Well said hasilox. Besides, they can repent just before death and still go to heaven. Enjoy first.

Gerakan K

Repetitive parrot, RPK told you this logic and you believe totally. RPK also told you 16 Sept 2008 project. RPK also told you that Anwar is dispensable and Selangor MB Khalid is a failure[1]. Do you believe it or not ??? What RPK never tell your is that the churches are typically the first ones that involved in ANY donation program for urgent events like wars, natural disasters, public awareness programs, etc. Their passion, kindness and ability to call the contribution from public, NGOs and even government agencies for the good causes never acknowledged by you or RPK meh ???… Read more »

O

Gerakan K,

And as usual, you conveniently forgot that RPK said that DAP in Penang under LGE is a success story, and Gerakan was a failure in Government and a failure in Opposition?

Salam Reformasi, PAS for ALL!

sunnyooi

Gerakan K,
If heaven is full of these priests and the likes of you, then hell is fine by me.

Let me parrot Mark Twain:
“Go to heaven for the climate, hell for the company.”

Gerakan K

I have forgiven you for your insulting statement.

F Tew

The question of keeping or rejecting the fund is not the issue. The issue is on the part of the giver, who has shrewdly used the timing of disbursing the legitimate fund. The giver has manipulated the timing well to his utmost advantage by using the people money. He is the fund manager, and he chose this time most beneficial to him. This is political acumen which has nothing to do with integrity of the receipients. This is the same for the three million to Rusa Primary School in Hulu Selangor. The only difference between the two is one they… Read more »

hasilox

Are you expecting a blanket higher moral standing from religious groups? You’ll die a disappointed man.

The lowest creatures usually hide behind religious mask coz that’s safest and most convenient. Until today the irish church is still protecting their peadophiles. Have faith in god but not in those who claim to represent god.

Gerakan K

Orang-orang gereja merupakan pengampun yang terbesar. Mereka sanggup mengampun segala kesilapan dan menerima orang-orang yang telah insaf akan kesalahannya.

hasilox

Forgive is not the same as protecting criminals. Going by the same logic, the ‘pengampun terbesar’ is not orang-orang gereja. It’s the crime organizations. They never fail to ‘forgive and accept’.