Saturday, July 18, 2009

I cannot be neutral about issues of morality (Goh Keat Peng)

A strong stand from Goh Keat Peng has been reposted below. Check out his blog and the comments posted. But first my quick thoughts.

I know that politics and religion are two big taboo areas for most of us. As a rule of thumb, I try to remain neutral in issues of politics as I know too well that many political issues are not clearly black or white but various shades of grey. Because of this I can with good conscious get along with others who hold different political views from me as there is much room for me to agree to disagree. It's also my theological position and understanding. I can have close friends or have great respect others who come from different theological persuasions (within the Christian church) and even people from different religious beliefs. I may strongly disagree but can consistently still have respect for divergent views and convictions.

I believe I can do this consistently if those I disagree with share a few common principles / values. Some that come off the top of my head are things like: Justice and fairness, honesty and sincerity, common courtesy and attempts at being consistent.

Of course I do understand that for some people, deception (the means justice the end result) is part and parcel of their "sincere consistency" and worldview and so they have no qualms in changing the rules as and when they please. I am not so naive to think that sincerity equals truth, or that having common courtesy equals trustworthiness. That's another issue.

But I guess the point for me is that there are some things that should be beyond politics. There are some things that we cannot remain neutral about. There are some things that all human beings irregardless of race, gender, nationality, political leanings or religious beliefs should unite together.

I do not think it is time to argue whether some are making a big deal about this Teoh Beng Hock's death only because he belonged to a certain race or political party. I do not think it is the time to question why a death of someone like Kugan (an Indian) was not enough to spur many to action. I do not even think it is the time to look at the Malaysian Church's general past record of political apathy and closing an eye to questionable political decisions. The past is the past. What is more important is the present and the future.

Rather I think it is the time for some concrete united positive action. And I am thinking of action by the Malaysian church as a whole. Not just another carefully worded letter / memorandum of protest or concern sent to the PM or insipid stuff like that. It's obvious that that has no effect.

At the very least, there could be a nation wide call for a day of fasting and prayer. No matter what denomination or theological leanings, surely this is the least that can be agreed on and be acceptable to all.

Christians should actually attend and pray so the nation can see the numbers. If I remember correctly, statistically there are more Christians than Indians in Malaysia. How nice it would be if the nation sees Christians uniting for the sake of the Nation (and not ourselves ...)

And I hope that the organizers cut down the hype and not allow certain VIP Christians to use it for political mileage. Perhaps it is time for many of the "old guard" to step aside and let some of the younger generation of leaders take the stage. (I sometimes think too many prayer meetings waste time giving the stage to "anointed speakers" and "anointed worship" to "create" the atmosphere rather than allowing time for actual prayer).


Okay here's Keat Peng's piece ....

As a Christian, I cannot keep to my seat, or shut my mouth and stay neutral over issues of morality.

So I emerge today from my several months of silence and non-involvement to say that what transpired yesterday is immoral, unacceptable and unconscionable.

Why was a witness being held for questioning for ten hours and only released at 3.45am? What kind of case is it and what is the urgency of the case in question that the witness had to be deprived of sleep and forcibly kept awake till 3.45am? Was the nation deemed to be in grave danger had the witness in question been sent home at a respectable time and asked to report again for questioning the next morning? The nation could endure long years of waiting over so many other much longer pending cases involving so much more public money and have much greater weight in public interest but this particular case could not wait for the next morning when the witness in question would have been fresher and better rested? What kind of interrogation was he subjected to on the fateful night without end? Why was it that a witness had to be isolated from his lawyer and forced to be in the sole company of officers with no other neutral person/s present? Because he was in the sole company of officers who were interrogating him, how would his side of the story be ever told? And how would, why should the officers in question be trusted when they tell the nation what actually transpired during that fateful night the witness lost his life? There were no other witness/es present so how would these officers in question clear their own involvement or clear their own names in this sad story?

Isn’t it true that a medical doctor should carry out the examination of a patient of the opposite sex in the presence of at least one other person? This is a wise procedure so that should any allegation of wrongful conduct be raised against him or her, the doctor would have some neutral testimony to defend him or her.

There have been too many instances of contravention against natural justice in this country involving the agencies and instruments of state. There have been too many victims. The neutrality of these instruments of state is questionable.


This is not about partisan politics. I expect my friends from both sides of the parliamentary divide to speak up. I expect to hear from all political parties and all who hold public office at all levels to speak up. I want especially to hear from Maximus Ongkili, Bernard Dompok, Lee Hwa Beng, Loh Seng Kok who publicly profess the Christian Faith to speak up.

I expect the churches and the church leadership to speak up including those I know personally such as Hwa Yung, Ng Moon Hing and many others.

Of course all of the above persons should state their own views and even fault my manner of speaking or reasoning. But silence is not an option. Leaders do not have the option of keeping their opinion to themselves. They must lend their voices to voices which have been silenced.

A young life has been lost on the very eve of his wedding. Siblings, parents, colleagues and a fiance are in inconsolable grief. WHY SO? WHO WILL BE NEXT?


  1. Feeling on the ground is, change is coming. Who knows, the RAHMAN prophecy may come true, that the N is the last PM ...

  2. Others like Sivin and Alex Tang have reposted Soo Inn's piece, "Angry in Malaysia" so I won't repost it. But it is a helpful one.