The General Election in Malaysia usually comes once in 5 years. But in Sarawak, the state-level and national-level elections are separate; Sarawakians thus face a unique situation of election every 2-3 years.
For Sarawak, the upcoming 14th General Elections is on the national level, for electing representatives to Dewan Rakyat. The number of seats allocated to Sarawak is key to determining which parties will win the majority to form the government, so the eyes of the nation will be gazing at Sarawak’s election.
Recently during the meeting of General Conference Executive Council of Methodist Church in Malaysia, Bishop Rev Dr Ong Hwai Teik brought out three important points to prepare the church (especially in Sarawak and Sabah) for the election: 1. Do not sell your birth right; 2. Take hold of this kairos moment; 3. Protect good governance. Allow me to expound on each point.
Do not sell
your birth right
1. Do not sell your birth right for short term gain and suffer long term loss (like Esau in the Bible selling his birth right to Jacob for a bowl of stew). Many voters may vote without conscience through buying and selling of votes for the sake of a little temporary benefit. Their sacred vote becomes the dirty vote, which in turn stagnates future growth of the country.
Of course, we may hear from some people, even from church leaders, saying that it doesn’t matter – take the money from A, but vote for B. Is not this kind of teaching and action even sinful? It is not only bribery, but also deception.
Take hold of today’s
2. God, who is in control of all things, has bestowed upon Sarawak’s indigenous peoples and Sarawak Iban Annual Conference (also Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference and Sabah Provisional Annual Conference) a kairos moment to strategically impact our community, state, and country.
44% of Sarawak’s population today are Christians. Therefore, we have leverage in the results of the election, even to decide the government of the nation. If today we do not decide the destiny of our nation, tomorrow the government will decide our destiny.
Protect good governance
3. The Church is pro-issue of good governance, we are not into partisan politics. The church is above partisan politics that will divide the Church.
We have a duty to seek the total “welfare of the city/land” as God’s people. The prophet Jeremiah recorded God’s words: “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” (29:7)
For peace, we need good governance. Good governance includes justice, righteousness, purity, acts of service and care, freedom, etc. We need worthy candidates to step forward, and voters ought to give their sacred vote to a candidate who is just and does works of mercy, one who is humble and walks with God. As the prophet Micah said “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (6:8)
Let us cry out to God and unite in prayer for the coming General Elections:
Our Father in heaven, may Malaysians hallow Your Name. Your kingdom comes. Your will be done, in Malaysia as it is in heaven. Give us today the rich and especially the poor in Malaysia our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses in elections as we also have forgiven those who trespassed against us. And lead us not into temptation of buying or selling of ballots, but deliver us from the evil one of money politics, corruptions, wicked lies, empty promises, dark forces, gambling, etc. in elections; deliver us also from the proud, corrupted, wicked, abusive, cunning, biased, greedy governance. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory of Malaysia. Amen.