Saturday, December 08, 2007

Removal of religious statues and crosses in Mission Schools

Insensitive, unsubstantiated and baseless: Federation

PETALING JAYA (Dec 7, 2007): The Christian Federation of Malaysia today described the two Barisan Nasional MPs' call in the Dewan Rakyat (Parliament) for the removal of images of Jesus and Mary and the crosses in mission schools as insensitive, unsubstantiated and baseless comments.

The federation said the duo's accusations against the management and operation of the mission schools are most appalling and hurtful and do nothing except cause misunderstanding and erosion of trust and respect among our ethnic and religious groups "in this beloved country of ours".



Statement for Christian Federation of Malaysia on Extremist/insensitive Remarks in Parliament about Christian Mission Schools’ Crosses and Religious Images

The Christian Federation of Malaysia is appreciative of the recognition of the Ministry of Education, Malaysia of the tradition to have crosses and religious images in mission schools and of the affirmation that there is no reason to remove them.

These crosses and religious images are part of the ethos and culture of mission schools which the Ministry of Education, Malaysia has repeatedly assured us will remain.

Our mission schools have been founded with so much love and sacrifice consistent with Christian values and principles with a view to providing quality education to all students, regardless of race, religion and culture.

The traditions and practices of the mission schools reflect the first principle of our national ideology, the Rukunegara, of "belief in God".

Therefore the Christian Federation of Malaysia calls upon the leadership of this beloved country of ours and the people of Malaysia to continue to support and encourage our mission schools in their thus far excellent contribution towards nation building through the provision of quality and caring education.

The insensitive, unsubstantiated and baseless comments and accusations of 2 honourable members of the august Dewan Rakyat of Malaysia in relation to the management and operation of the mission schools are most appalling and hurtful and do nothing except cause misunderstanding and erosion of trust and respect among our ethnic and religious groups in this beloved country of ours.

The reason for having brought up the comments and accusations "based on grouses from the ground" is not acceptable as in the first place, there is no compulsion for any one to study in a mission school if one does not wish to.

Moreover, one would expect that before any accusation or comment is made, one should verify the facts, especially with the management of the mission schools.

The Christian Federation of Malaysia applauds our mission schools for their continuing contribution to the betterment of our students and teachers and reminds them of the important role they play in producing responsible citizens who will love their country and contribute to nation building and unity.

Bishop Paul Tan Chee Ing, SJ ChairmanExecutive Committee of Christian Federation of Malaysia

Article taken from theSun.


KinTung said...

I am heartened to know that the
government will not remove the cross and other Christian images from mission schools. The deputy education minister was spot on when he said that the images were a part of the mission schools' tradition and there was no reason to change it. I am sure some of our cabinet
ministers, past and present, were
products of these mission schools
I am saddened and distraught by comments from a Parit Sulong parliamentarian calling for these images to be removed. He even made the preposterous claim that
the Vatican controls missionary schools in Malaysia. I have never
heard of this backbencher until now. All these while, he must have been a very quiet member of parliament.
Such sweeping statements about mission schools is indeed an insult to these prestigious schools that have existed in our country for years.

Peter Khiew said...

to kintung: Being a product of a Lasallian school obviously makes one feel concerned and worried. Nevertheless, with the assurance given, we can rest assured things can be sorted out amicably.

Henry Yew said...

Mr. Khiew,
I can certainly breathe a great sigh of relief that the education ministry has decided that the crosses and statues will stay.

I have read that hansard that was published in and I was initially infuriated when the MP for Parit Sulong made such remarks. It seemed to me that the MP did not really make inquiries through the right people before saying such things in the Dewan Rakyat. There were politicians who came from mission schools including the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Minister for Energy, Water and Communications Datuk Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik, the Raja Muda of Perak His Highness Raja Dr. Nazrin Shah, etc. The MP could have gathered the necessary information first before speaking.

In such a culturally diversed nation, the tolerance that we have towards other people's cultures, tradition and architecture should be respected. What the MP claimed was not only baseless, but rather a show of intolerance.

I am sorry to say all this but as an MP elected single-handedly by the rakyat, it is expected that he should be more sensitive to the sentiments of the culturally diversed population of Malaysia.