In Merdeka message, churches remind Putrajaya to check poverty and vengeance

Azril Annuar
In a message to mark Merdeka on August 31, CFM says an in-depth review of policies to uplift poor and needy Malaysians of all ethnicities and creeds is urgently required. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 24 ― The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to come up with a comprehensive policy to raise the position of the country’s poor and its minorities.

In a message to mark Merdeka on August 31, the umbrella group representing the country’s Catholic Church, the Protestants churches and the evangelical Christian groups commended the new government for cancelling mega projects and financial policies that burden Malaysians, naming as example the Goods and Services Tax. But it said more needs to be done.

“The review and cancellation of extravagant mega projects is an excellent start but an in-depth review of policies to uplift poor and needy Malaysians of all ethnicities and creeds is also urgently required.

“If we are to build a just and equitable society for succeeding generations, poverty needs to be meaningfully defined by reference to the actual cost of living so that effective programmes for advancement with state support may be implemented not only to eradicate the poverty of a significant proportion of our peoples including native peoples such as the Penans and the Orang Asli as well as the urban poor but also to narrow the shameful disparity between the richest and the poorest among us,” CFM said.

The CFM also cautioned the ruling PH against behaving in a vindictive and vengeful manner towards the previous Barisan Nasional administration while carrying out its reform pledges.

“Although wrongdoers must certainly be held to account, we also urge the government to act fairly and justly and not out of political vengeance against the supporters of the previous Government.

“Malaysia needs to build a mature democracy where there is no dread of reprisals whenever there is a change of government,” it said.

The CFM also urged Malaysians of all creed and colour to put aside their differences and banish inflammatory rhetoric which causes dissension and division.

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