Wednesday, November 23, 2016

GERAKAN, Andy Yong, 'Real' Apology, Christians/Churches and BERSIH 5?

Andy Yong is the National Deputy Youth Chief of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia(GERAKAN), and his statements were reported by the media. In his Facebook Page post, he implies that there may have been "spinned news". Well, when it come to talking to dealing with the media, it is always a good idea to have a prepared media statement - unfortunately, I have not been able to see such a media statement by Andy (I also did not see this statement in his Facebook Page). In any event, if there was any 'mis-reporting' of comments made to the media, it is always good to send a letter to the relevant media outlets demanding a correction of the published news reports.

In 2010, Malaysian population was 28.3 million, and 9.2% are Christians - about 2.6 million
Now, everyone including Andy Yong has the freedom of opinion and expression, and as such he is free to hold any view. But, when you are also a leader of a political party or organisation, or a holder of public office, and you are expressing an opinion/view not being the view of your political party/organisation or public office, it is always best to make it clear that it is but your own personal view. There have been to date no such assertion, even after the reports were published and others have responded, and as such it is reasonable to assume that Andy Yong is speaking for GERAKAN. GERAKAN has also not yet issued any statement to distance itself from what was expressed by Andy.

The Council of Churches of Malaysia's Press Statement in response to the Deputy Yourth Chief of Party GERAKAN dated 22/11/2016 is very clear as to what they want of Andy Yong and GERAKAN. Go read the statement, and amongst others, they want... 

We call on him to unequivocally rescind his negative statements against Christians and their leaders and for the party leaders to make their stand whether they agree with him.
Since then, there has been a Malaysiakini report (see below) that states that he has apologized - but, in my opinion, it falls short of what CCM wants, and also what all other Churches and Christians expect. 

I looked at the said Facebook post in Andy Yong's Facebook page  - which I have copied and pasted below:-

Disappointed to see spinned news/comments against me. My salient points are about the danger of mixing politics and religion. Though inevitable not to have any connection of the two, we must understand its sensitivity in today's situation. My apology if offended anyone.
* someone just informed me Msiakini published my apology..
In his post, he has an image - being a quote of Pope Francis(visit his FB page - and see that image and quote. Firstly, it was a quote from a media interview which was in Italian, and this was a translation of words used. One has to really read the entire interview, and more importantly look at the official position of the Catholic Church as seen also in various Church teachings and the Bible...which in no way says that Churches are to keep quite...or Christians stand by silently in the face of injustice and human rights violations. Very dangerous to simply rely on a single quote - one has to take a holistic approach to get a clearer understanding of what faith demands of Christians and Churches...

The Catholic Church (who has a membership of about 1 million in Malaysia) has been very active in the affairs of human persons in the political, socio-economic and cultural reality. The Church and Christians take positions, and act on it - we do not sit on the sidelines indifferent to injustices, violations of human rights, etc.. Remember the Vatican is involved in the United Nations, and as also have a relationship with the Malaysian government.
As of 2010, there are 1,007,643 Catholics in Malaysia - approximately 3.56% of the total population.
With regards to corruption, just have a look at an extract of the speech of Pope Francis ...and also an extract from a Catholic Church Encyclical - which clearly states that the Church will get actively peaceful activities like BERSIH 5 peaceful assembly...

Hall of Popes
Thursday, 23 October 2014

b) Regarding the crime of corruption

The scandalous concentration of global wealth is made possible by the connivance of public leaders with the powers that be. Corruption is in and of itself a death process: when a life is ended, there is corruption.

There are few things more difficult than breaching a corrupt heart: “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Lk 12:21). When a corrupt person’s private situation becomes complicated, he knows all the loopholes to escape, as did the dishonest steward of the Gospel (cf. Lk 16:1-8).

A corrupt person passes through life with shortcuts of opportunism, with an air of one who says: “It wasn’t me”, managing to internalize his ‘honest man’ mask. It is a process of internalization. The corrupt person cannot accept criticism; he discredits those who criticize; he seeks to diminish any moral authority that may call him into question; he does not value others and attacks with insults whomsoever may think in a different way. Should opportunity permit, he persecutes anyone who contradicts him.

Corruption is expressed in an atmosphere of triumphalism because the corrupt person considers himself a winner. He struts about in that environment in order to belittle others. The corrupt person knows neither brotherhood nor friendship, but complicity and enmity. The corrupt one does not perceive his corruption. It is somewhat like what happens with bad breath: the person who has it is seldom aware of it; it is the others who notice it and have to tell him about it. For this reason it is unlikely that the corrupt person will be able to recognize his state and change through inner remorse.

Corruption is a greater ill than sin. More than forgiveness, this ill must be treated. Corruption has become natural, to the point of becoming a personal and social statement tied to customs, common practice in commercial and financial transactions, in public contracting, in every negotiation that involves agents of the State. It is the victory of appearances over reality and of brazenness over honourable discretion.

The Lord, however, does not tire of knocking at the doors of the corrupt. Corruption is no match for hope.

What can criminal law do against corruption? There are now many conventions and international treaties on the subject and a proliferation of offenses defined and directed at protecting not so much the citizenry, who are definitively the ultimate victims — especially the most vulnerable — as to protect the interests of those operating the economic and financial markets. 

Criminal punishment is selective. It is like a net that catches only the little fish, while it leaves the big fish free in the ocean. The forms of corruption that most need to be addressed are those which cause severe social harm — such as, for example, serious fraud against the public administration or dishonest administrative practices — shown by any type of obstruction of justice intended to gain impunity for one’s own misdeeds or for those of third parties.

Positive signs in the contemporary world are the growing awareness of the solidarity of the poor among themselves, their efforts to support one another, and their public demonstrations on the social scene which, without recourse to violence, present their own needs and rights in the face of the inefficiency or corruption of the public authorities. By virtue of her own evangelical duty the Church feels called to take her stand beside the poor, to discern the justice of their requests, and to help satisfy them, without losing sight of the good of groups in the context of the common good. - SOLLICITUDO REI SOCIALIS (No.39)

Of relevance, also is what Pope Francis has to say about pre-trial detention....which is relevant now considering what is happening to Maria Chin...

b) Regarding conditions of detention, un-sentenced prisoners and those sentenced without trial

These are not tall stories: you know it well — pretrial detention — when an early sentence is procured in an abusive manner, without conviction, or as a measure applied in case of a suspicion more or less based on a crime committed — constitutes another contemporaneous form of unlawful and hidden punishment, beyond a veneer of legality. - from the same address to the International Association of Penal Law mentioned above..

See related posts:-

GERAKAN out to 'silence' Malaysian Churches and Christians? GERAKAN's finds no wrong in Malaysia? in government? 1MDB?

Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) respond to GERAKAN's stand on role of Churches and BERSIH 5?




While churches fume, Gerakan's Yong apologises

  Published     Updated

Gerakan Youth deputy chief Andy Yong has been accused of singling out Christians in his recent statement on why religion and Bersih should not mix.

Yong, however, claims his views were misconstrued by the media and said he was sorry if any churches were offended.

In a statement today, the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM), the umbrella group for Malaysian churches, said Yong appeared to have ignored the fact that Bersih supporters were made up of Malaysians of all faiths.

"Yong has chosen to pick out Christians but it baffles everybody as to why he has remained silent on the participation of thousands of Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs and others who have exercised their right to dissent.

"Can he show any evidence from leaders of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism who have made statements to deny the right of participation of their adherents in the said rally.

"So why pick on the Christians?" asked CCM general secretary Rev Hermen Shastri.

He said there are Christians in Gerakan as well, most prominently Gerakan founder the late Tan Chee Khoon, who had helped build the country.

"Even today there are many party members who are Christians and we are sure they will feel slighted by the hurting statements made from within their own political fold," said Herman.

Clergy is non-partisan

Yesterday, Yong said that some churches held masses and services before the rallies in Kuala Lumpur on Nov 19 and had their believers conspicuously supporting one side.

He added that a bishop who joined the rally encouraged his followers to do the same.

Yong said "to use the sacraments to encourage support or affiliation to certain political agendas is not appropriate".

"He should consider whether he risk fuelling the anger towards (from those of) different faith and political support. He must consider the consequences of his actions.

"I am not advocating that persons who are religious should be excluded from government affairs or influencing others to do the same but its sensitivity. We cannot use religious tenets as a justification for our support in government or politics," said Yong.

He argued that religion and politics should not mix because it would lead to violence.

This evening, Yong posted an apology of sorts on Twitter.

"I'm sorry if I offended any churches. Never intended so," said Yong.

Bishop appalled by BN leader’s misconstruction

Terence Netto     Published     Updated
Catholic Bishop Emeritus Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing said he was appalled by the extent of Gerakan Youth deputy leader Andy Yong’s ignorance of the Christian churches’ stand on Bersih 5.

In a statement issued yesterday, Yong criticised Christian clergymen whom he claimed took a partisan stand on polls reform advocacy group Bersih’s decision to organise a protest march in Kuala Lumpur last Saturday.

“To the extent one can decipher Andy Yong’s meaning from the muddle of his dysfunctional English, he said he thinks Christian clergymen had urged their congregations to wear Bersih colours to a prayer service in church and from there both priests and laity fanned out into the streets as partisan supporters of a political cause,” said the Jesuit-trained priest.

Bishop Paul said the truth was more nearly that Christian clerics saw the Bersih demand for clean and fair elections and corruption-free governance as inseparable from the social justice that all Christians must struggle for in this world.

“Churches’ decision to support Bersih’s aims was not mixing religion with politics as Andy Yong claims,” said the former head of the Catholic Church in the Malacca-Johor diocese.

“The churches’ stand was a projection of the social justice values of the Gospel and not a matter of dragging it into being a partisan supporter of political parties and their agendas,” iterated the prelate.

“Catholic clergy are forbidden from taking part in politics. They can voice support for social justice ideals but cannot be politically aligned players of the game,” said Bishop Paul.

“The laity can take part in politics but the clergy must stay above the partisan fray,” he clarified.
Bishop Paul said from what Andy Yong is quoted as saying, the Gerakan leader is in the wrong political coalition because he insists that religion must not be mixed with politics.
“Even a cursory survey of the Malaysian political landscape is enough to tell you which among the political parties fuses religion with politics,” argued the cleric.

Bishop Paul said the stand of the churches on the Bersih march was prompted by a desire to struggle for the social justice values of the Christian message of fostering a peace premised on justice.

“That message can invite misunderstanding and hostility, the endurance of which is part of the Christian struggle for a more authentic existence,” asserted the bishop.

No comments: