When I heard of churches gathering at Kingwood Inn few days ago to protest the seizure of 30,000 bibles, I know that the Christian have enough of being pushed to the walls.
We Christian are a forgiving lot. We are taught to forgive our enemies, pray for them and to live in harmony with one another through respect and love.
So when the Kuching Ministers Fellowship, Miri Pastors Fellowship, Sibu Pastors Fellowship, Bintulu Pastors Fellowship and Gempuru Besai Raban Jaku Iban Malaysia (an alliance of Iban churches) joined together few days ago to protest against the unfair treatment of Christians in this lovely land of Sarawak, it shows that the most tolerant of the lot had surrender and said ‘enough is enough’.
Sarawak makes up of over 40% Christians. In this land, we live in harmony with the Buddhist, Hindu and Muslims. We find no fault with one another. We eat together, rejoice together, work together and even in death, we offer each other sympathy.
Today, the Christians are unhappy. It is not because of our Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist friends. It is the system, the government system that gives hardship to the Christians and their churches with their many rules and regulations.
Sarawak is a land of freedom of religion. Why has it become so? Why are the Christians being ‘prosecuted’ and expected to remain silent. The churches never want to politicize issues connected to the churches. Today, they stood up not because of political reasons but because of the system that is so unfair to them.
The system comes from the Government of the Day. The system must be changed so that the condition in which Sarawak formed part of Malaysia would be respected. That means the Government must be changed so that Christians can worship in peace and without repercussion.
“Article 8 of the Federal Constitution states that “All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law”, and “there shall be no discrimination against citizens on the ground only of religion, race, descent, place of birth or gender in any law”.
Article 11 provides for every person to have “ the rights to profess and practice his religion,” and that every religion group has the right (a) to manage its own religious affairs, (b) to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes, and (c) to acquire and own property and build and administer it in accordance with the law.
Under the 18 point Agreement of Sarawak in the formation of Malaysia, it is clearly stated that there is no official religion in Sarawak. “
The seizure of the Bibles at the Kuching Port is not only unconstitutional but it also violates the spirit of the agreement for Sarawak to participate in the formation of the Malaysia. Will more Bibles be seized again in the further? How many rules and regulations do the Christians have to comply? How many obstacles do the Christians have to face so that their church members can get a Bible in their hands, praise the Lord our God without fear. The present system has to go.