Methodist becoming Pro Barisan National?

Updated:
1. It is now clear that it is 4 churches, not 3. And they claimed that they have requested the money 'weeks before', contrary to what the bishop had claimed.

2. Rev Hwa Yung will ironically be talking about his new book on corruption and bribery. It is like listening to HRH Sultan Azlan talking about his rule of law book after what he did for UMNO in Perak.



Original
Once upon a time as a greenhorn, I joined and later serve in a Methodist church in Seremban and enjoyed the warmth of the people.
I have a secret, that I have sponsored a Tamil Methodist teenager with 2 month of my salary (just came out to work) so that he can study as his family could not afford it. It is a secret that I just want to kept to myself because it should be that way. Yet with this revelation, I hope that this 'act of kindness' will buy me 5 minutes of grace to fester about my biggest disappointment of the year.

Its about the Chinese Methodist Church in Sibu who were given RM1.75 million 'donation' of taxpayers money coincidently during a by election.

I called it a bribe.

Chronology:

17th May 2010 - trying to make sense.
Context: Election, money given to the Chinese and Christian as both are target group which are basically profiles the Methodist Sibu. No money was given all these years. This is special budget allocation.
Reason: not clear.
Consequence: May help in financial situation, distrust from the ... poorer Melanau/Iban Christians and other faith, allegations of buying over christians, unfavourable rumblings in Peninsular, increase derision of faith & causes the Christian leaders to spend time to make sense.

Principles to consider
1. Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse. ( Proverbs 28.6)
2."Everything is permissible"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"—but not everything is constructive. (1 Corithians 10.23)
3.It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. (Romans 14:21)So, we need to weight carefully. Any threat is an opportunity and this is one opportunity that church can make a stand on integrity even on donation or grant.

I then wrote emails to the Chinese Sibu Church via their FB page, and emails to the methodist organisation and to DUMC. No response for the church. The church did not make any effort to be transparent about the situation for about a week.

24th May 2010 - I prayed for forgiveness for the churches in Malaysia. Today, received a forwarded email from concern christians with an email which I found inadequate yet will respect the bishop's direction.

"After all, the money given is actually taxpayers’ money. Indeed the problem in our country is that most of the money for religious bodies is usually given to one particular religious community, with relatively much smaller proportions given to other communities. In so far as the money was given to the churches this time round, it can be said that the government is trying to right a past wrong. Further, the churches concerned never asked for the money."

26th May 2010 - The 4 churches ( not 3 ) declared that they are keeping the monies.

28th May 2010 - The Methodist church in Malaysia explained that the reason for keeping the money is that "returning the RM1.75 million government grant given during the Sibu by-election campaign will inadvertently make them out to be opposition supporters."

This is a day of mourning for the churches in Malaysia. Not only we have lost the opportunity to be a change agent and a reflector of Christ's value, we have lost the trust to be a credible faith.

Here are the given rationale and I do wonder why there was no bible verses that the Methodist leaders can use to substanciate their feeble attempt.

1. It is our money anyway -> Did the rest of the other faith who pay tax agrees to this? (refer 5)

2. We did not ask for it - > So, it is Barisan National's fault then? There are also report that the churches did ask for it. Who is lying?

3. Only election is when you will get these goodies. -> Isn't that the same with people who get paid RM50 to vote? And the church is an organisation and have collective conscience.

4. If we reject, we will be linked to opposition. And we are impartial and the money have no influence.-> Logic - if you reject = opposition, then accept = support Barisan National and UMNO. That already, is not impartial.

5. We do not get money from government always -> Lets not confuse the issue here. If talking about grant to non Muslim community, lets work it out with other faith and make a proposal to the government. 2 wrongs does not make a right.

Dear Reverand Hwa Yong and the Methodist ministers in Malaysia, remember that Judas was given 20 coins of silver to betray Jesus. You are not Judas, yet you have kept quiet about the money perhaps thinking that it will go away. We also do not see the Methodist's dynamism in the Allah issue or other issues confronting poorer churches in Malaysia. Is this not enough to imply that the Methodist movement in Malaysia is now friendly towards the Barisan National government?

The fact that the Sidang Injil Borneo churches are much poorer yet they were not given aid. The SIB church leaders spoke up & its a growing church that is not favourable to the desire of the government. And the Catholic church is also not given money as they displayed great courage to defend the rights of the Christians in the Herald case. And I think if they were given this bribe, both church leaders will refuse.

It is a shame to the Chinese church for our obsession with wealth, better looking churches and more land. Go ahead and enjoy yourselves planning bigger barns to keep your harvest.

End with a quote from another Methodist.
"Let them keep the money. Jesus came without a penny and He hung on the cross without a penny. But look what He did for all eternity. "

6 comments:

Shi-Lynn said...

Brilliant article, Joe. I wonder at the long-term repercussions of their actions.

Left message on your Facebook too.

麗旺麗旺 said...

閒暇為所有財富中最美好的財富..................................................

cleffairy said...

*sigh* I called that bribery too... at it's very best. What's becoming of our country? *sigh*

易英易英 said...

來塊巧克力吧~~心情會好哦~~ ........................................

佳慧 said...

認清問題就等於已經解決了一半的問題。..................................................

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