CHRISTIAN FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA
(PERSEKUTUAN KRISTIAN MALAYSIA)
Address: 10, Jalan 11/9, Section 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Telephone: (03) 7957 1278, (03) 7957 146, Fax: (03) 7957 1457
9 August 2010
The Christian Federation of Malaysia is very concerned by the allegations of “forced” conversions of the Orang Asli people as reported by Aljazeera in their news item entitled “Malaysia ethnic tribes ‘forced to convert'” (see http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2010/08/2010886496589764.html)
Every Malaysian has the right to choose his or her religious beliefs based on personal conviction as guaranteed under Article 11 of our Federal Constitution.
The allegations that “facilities and easy access into the villages” will be gained by conversions in the report should be investigated fully so that any wrong-doings by persons or organisations may be brought to light and stopped immediately.
Any development programme of the Government to lift Malaysians out of poverty should be without strings attached. Whilst we note that the Malaysian Department of Orang Asli Affairs (JHEOA) has stated that “development program such as electricity, water supply, housing and other basic infrastructure given to Orang Asli communities are based on their need and not their religion”, yet we see in the video clip that those who converted received new homes and enjoy modern amenities while those who don’t continue to live in their huts.
We believe that the promotion of conversions-in-name to gain “facilities and easy access to villages”, if true, is an abuse of executive powers (which ought to be exercised for the public good) for insidious sectarian purposes. Ultimately, such practices would tend to create a community lacking in integrity and true freedom of choice where people are encouraged to compromise their beliefs, culture and identity by means of economic duress and inducements.
Bishop Ng Moon Hing,
Chairman and the Executive Committee
The Christian Federation of Malaysia