Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sabah churches sign declaration

KOTA KINABALU: Christian churches marked the end of a three-day revival meeting of prayers called “Moving into the New Season”, with four organisations signing a 31-paragraph Kota Kinabalu Declaration (KKD) on Wednesday.

The KKD was signed by the Sabah Council of Churches, Commission on Sabah Affairs of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF), Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN) Sabah or Native Solidarity, and the Kota Kinabalu Pastors Fellowship.

The declaration, at the very outset, states the commitment of the Church to the sovereignty of the Federation of Malaysia as one composed of three equal partners, Sabah, Sarawak and Malaya from Sept 16 1963, citing the scriptures: “a triple-braided rope is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12b).
The KKD made reference to three constitutional documents, namely Sabah’s 20 Points, Sarawak’s 18 Points and the Malaysia Agreement 1963, which among others provides the basis for the Borneo nations to be in federation with the peninsula.
According to the declaration, the Federal Constitution is recognised as the supreme law of the nation and all citizens enjoy equal protection under the law. “Any other form of supremacy is clearly ultra vires the constitution and unacceptable,” the declaration noted.
The KKD also included the paragraph, “The judiciary must act with justice and righteousness so that the ordinary citizen can drink from the fountain of the King’s justice, without fear or favour.”
“The state, including Islamic agencies and the Sultans as heads of Islam in their respective states, must not intervene in the exclusive province of other faiths.”
The KKD also affirmed the stand of upholding freedom of worship and human rights.
It drew reference to the Malay-speaking members of the Church in Malaysia who had no other alternative but to discontinue the use of the word “Allah” but that the situation in East Malaysia was different because Christians could continue to use “Allah” and the Al-Kitab in the manner their forefathers did.
The declaration also drew on the Federal Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 18 and 19, to appeal for the upholding of Freedom of Worship and respect for human rights.
It called for Article 153 of the Federal Constitution, that provided for a special position in four areas, to be extended to the Orang Asli, the indigenous people in the peninsula.
Other matters that were brought up concerned the National Registration Department (NRD) being dishonest brokers in matters of faith, the incidence of scam conversions carried out in Borneo by NGOs from the peninsula and the issue of illegal immigrants flooding electoral rolls and robbing Christians of their political franchise.
The climax of the three-day meeting was “Mitabang Mamangkis”, the culmination of 21 Mamangkis gatherings in Sabah over two years, which observed Malaysia Day as well.
Mamangkis is the battle cry from the headhunting days while Mitabang calls for believers to close ranks and help each other.

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