Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Winning the Christian votes

It looks pretty obvious that Pakatan Rakyat is milking the Malay Bible issue to the maximum in order to sway the Christians in Sarawak to vote against Barisan Nasional.

It is not as if Barisan Nasional did not expect Pakatan to embark on such a strategy and if Barisan leaders themselves added fuel to the situation by imposing all sorts of conditions on the release of the impounded Malay Bibles, then they have themselves to blame.

Barisan leaders were fully aware that the situation would not only be inflammatory, but could work against them by angering and instilling fear in the Malaysian Christian community who would then vote against Barisan.

After all, the moderate and accommodating stance of Pakatan - "We have no issues with Malay Bibles" and "It's okay for followers of Abrahamaic faiths to use the Arabic word 'Allah' for 'God'" - sounds very attractive to Christian voters in Sarawak, Sabah and peninsular Malaysia.

Barisan leaders should start listening to the people and pay heed to their fears, anger and frustrations. Seldom do Christians make their feelings and fears known to the authorities publicly. Thus when they do, it can only mean that things have reached the stage when they have no choice but speak up in one strong voice.

The recent prayer meeting in Sarawak which attracted an unexpectedly large number of Christians is an indication of the mood of the people, especially Christians who feel that their right to freedom of worship has been trampled on by a Barisan government that is sticking to rules and regulations of its own making, and its own brand of chauvinistic and divisive politicking.

The Christians in Sarawak feel that the situation in Sarawak had always been peaceful and harmonious - and Malay Bibles had been used by them for decades without any issues - but it is the racist, chauvinistic and divisive politics championed by 'Semenanjung' politicians, especially those from Umno, that has been encroaching into the 'safe haven' of Sarawak and causing racial and religious disunity.

The point is this - if Christians in Sarawak can be swayed to vote against Barisan, what about the Christians in peninsular Malaysia?

Barisan leaders have themselves to blame if they lose the Christian voters due to their own chauvinistic and racist attitudes.

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