Malaysia

Churches urge Christians to vote wisely in GE13

File photo of Christians at a service in a Catholic church in Petaling Jaya. Christians have been encouraged to pray for the general election.File photo of Christians at a service in a Catholic church in Petaling Jaya. Christians have been encouraged to pray for the general election.KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — Churches have joined in the drive to educate voters, urging Christians to come out and vote with wisdom in Election 2013, which is expected to be Malaysia’s most intense polls.

In a video uploaded on YouTube yesterday, Christians were reminded of their moral duty to vote.

“We vote because we have a moral obligation to participate in the life of the nation,” said a narration in the video jointly produced by the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) — an umbrella body of Protestant churches — and the Catholic Research Centre.

In the video, Christian voters are asked to vote for a corruption-free country where all Malaysians are treated as equals and there is religious freedom, among other things.

But voters are warned against relying on a single source of information in deciding on their candidates.

“Be well informed about the issues that are most important and urgent for our nation, our rights, integrity and sustainable development.

“Before you go to vote, reflect on all the facts, reflect on the history and the track record of parties, coalitions, candidates. Reflect on your values as a Christian Malaysian,” the video said.

In the run-up to the elections, churches have allowed training on voter education and election agents to be conducted on their premises.

Christians have also been encouraged to pray for the elections.

The incumbent Barisan Nasional (BN) administration has been trying to engage with Christians, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently inviting church leaders for a tea meeting.

Last year, travel restrictions placed on Christians for pilgrimages to Jerusalem, Israel were lifted.

But it is unclear who Christians — who make up less than 10 per cent of the country’s population — will vote for, with an unresolved court dispute over the right to use the word “Allah” in the Catholic Church’s weekly publication The Herald likely to weigh on their minds.

 

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