Kuala Lumpur (Agenzia Fides) - "Every five years we have the opportunity to democratically elect our leaders and the government, I invite all Catholics to exercise the vote according to a Christian vision and values, it is our moral duty and right, as citizens of our beloved Country, to vote wisely and responsibly. We will put the future of our nation, our future, in the hands of men and women who have the well-being of the country at heart": says Archbishop Simon Poh to Agenzia Fides, who is at the head of the archdiocese of Kuching, Malaysia, urging the faithful in view of the upcoming general elections, scheduled for May 9th.
"By expressing our vote, we give trust to the candidates to fulfill all the promises they have made, to work for the common good and welfare of all Malaysians, to defend religious freedom for all regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. It is necessary to take into consideration the political party and the integrity of each individual candidate, considering his work for development, for the rights of citizens for the welfare and care of the people", added the Archbishop.
The Archbishop also invited Catholics to pray and fast in view of this important moment: "As a community, let us pray together with Christians. We are peaceful citizens of the province of Sarawak: I urge all Catholics to pray incessantly for the elections to be free, fair and transparent. We Christians can always bring God's love and peace to the country, preserving harmony in our nation", he added.
Even the Christian Federation of Malaysia, which brings together all the Christian confessions present on the territory, has urged Christians to vote responsibly. "For Christians who are citizens of Malaysia, it is important to vote responsibly in the forthcoming general elections in Malaysia because it is a moral duty", says a statement signed by Catholic Archbishop Julian Leow, president, and by other Christian Bishops.
The text sent to Fides reads: "Let us try to choose the leaders who will govern us wisely. We ask God an ever greater capacity to discern between right and wrong and the wisdom to choose the Members of Parliament and the representatives of the Legislative Assembly for the next 5 years. To do so, we must ask the candidates questions, listen carefully to their political choices, support the rule of law and the primacy of the Federal Constitution, safeguard the freedoms (including freedom of religion), as well as their willingness to serve for the common good, promoting the well-being of all, including the poor and the marginalized".
Malaysia is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious federation of 13 states and three federal territories, with 31 million inhabitants. Being a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society, Christians need to build bridges with all peoples regardless of ethnicity and culture. With 60% of the Islamic population, the remaining 40% is divided among Buddhists, Hindus and Christians. The latter are a minority of about 9%, half of them Catholics. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 7/5/2018)