Category Archives: Apr 2018

Malaysia’s electoral system: A constitutional perspective

The Church of Our Lady Of Lourdes organised a talk “ Malaysia’s Electoral System: A constitutional perspective” on April 22.

The main presenter was Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi (pic), a Professor of Law in the University of Malaya and currently holding the Tunku Abdul Rahman chair as Professor of Constitutional Law.

Also present was Archbishop Julian Leow, parish priest Fr Frederick Joseph, Alex from Pemantau the watchdog for Bersih and lawyer Sangeetha Jeyakumar who spoke on PACA

“Allowing the people to elect their governors is one of the finest achievements of democracy. The idea that the government must be elected and representatives be answerable, responsible and accountable to the wishes of society is a beautiful ideal,” said Emeritus Professor Datuk Dr Shad Saleem Faruqi.

Regrettably, he said, even in the liberal democracies of the North Atlantic, the above ideals of representative government are realised only imperfectly.

He added though democracy is the best form of government, there can be no denying that behind the folklore of democracy stand many myths and many utilitarian compromises. “Democratic” electoral systems often lead to undemocratic results.

Dr Shad Saleem cited that the electoral exercise in all democracies is so colossal, involves so many details, so many officials, and so much money that democracy’s undoubted virtues get sullied.

For example, he said, the 13 general election in Malaysia involved 240,000 workers, thousands of polling booths and a budget of RM400 million for the electoral exercise.

“How many millions or billions the political parties spent collectively is unknown because the disclosed election expenses are only for the campaign period and not for the expenses incurred and inducements offered before and after the campaign period. Regrettably, around the world elections have become an exercise in cheque book diplomacy,” he said, adding what happened in the USA during Barrack Obama’s campaign period. (According to published reports and campaign fianance data, the Obama campaign cost the incumbent president, the Democratic Party and the primary super PACs supporting his candidacy more than $1.1 billion in the 2012 presidential race.)

Coming back on the issue of our electoral system, Dr Shad Saleem highlighted that in Malaysia as in UK and India — it is “ single member, simple plurality system” meaning the candidate obtaining the most votes is declared elected.

He pointed out with graphics that in Malaysia, except for 1969 and 2013, the ruling coalition has secured absolute majorities of the votes polled at eleven out of 13 elections.

While explaining to participants on electoral law and that of other countries, Dr Shad Saleem summed by saying, “ There are no ideal systems and no quick-fix solutions to defects. The law walks a tightrope between what is ideal and what is workable; what is just and what is feasible. More than in other fields of law, the world-wide attitude is “that is best which works best.”

He spoke extensively on an impartial Election Commission:

— to draw up the electoral register impartially to ensure that no one is denied the right to vote
— No phantom voters or persons who have died
— No non-citizens are allowed to register Voters satisfy the requirement of residence in their constituency
— No one registers in more than one electoral district.

Fair principles for delineating constituencies

Dr Shad Saleem also stressed on fair principles for delineating constituencies as it should be about equal in population size so as to give reality to the principle of one person, one vote, one value.

“What is notable is that the rural weightage has ethnic implications because of the concentration of Malays in rural areas. But population patterns are changing. Rural areas are dwindling from 66 per cent in 1980 to 49 per cent in 1990. In time the ethnic significance of rural weightage may diminish,” he said.

He cited examples of malapportionment such as Kapar Parlaimentary constituency in Selangor having 144,369 voters as compared to Putrajaya’s 15,355 voters and Gopeng in Perak having 97,243 electors and Padang Rengas 28,572.

Sadly he said, almost all the re-delineation cases brought to court recently had failed.

He said wherever parliaments are involved in the drawing up of electoral districts, suspicions are aroused about the possibility of gerrymandering.

While calling for those aged 18 and above to be automatically registered as voters as per the current system, he said, this was to ensure that more come out to exercise their right to vote or more so to increase the proportion of voters.

The eligibility of voters

“We had 14.6 million registered voters in June last year who constitutes only 47.5 per cent of the 30.72 million population (2015 figure). If out of these 47.5 per cent eligible voters, one were to deduct 20-25 per cent voters who do not or could not show up, this leaves only 38 per cent of the population that participates in democracy’s show-case event! We must find ways to increase this proportion.”

Dr Shad Saleem is also of the opinion that bankrupts (those declared for standing as quarantors etc) should be allowed to vote besides the homeless, differently abled and criminals (need to be narrowed down as to who can vote). He also touched on rules for the eligibility of candidates, system of political parties before touching on pre-election and campaign period issues with emphasis on dissolution of parliament, caretaker government, rules about nomination and election, conduct of election campaigns, election expenses and election offences, right to speech, processions and assemblies, counting of votes and secrecy of the ballot.

In 1955, the campaign period was 147 days and then it became shorter to 60 days and now the minimum period is 11 days.

Election offences

Dr Shad Saleem said for Parliamentary elections in Malaysia, the maximum sum that can be incurred is RM200,000 under the Election Offences Act 1954, sections 17-27 and for state seats the limit is RM100,00.

“A glaring omission in the law in the UK and Malaysia is that while limits are placed on the expenditure of individual candidates, there are no statuory limits on how much a party can spend on its candidates. There is no control on what political parties may spend or receive by way of donation. There are no requirements for parties to submit audited accounts and to disclose the source and amount of donations received. The campaign expenditure limits apply to the campaign period, not to the period before or after,” he said.

This, he added, has aroused the criticism that electoral battles have degenerated into struggles between cheque books … giving of money, free transport, food and bribes to the electorate is forbidden.

But, he further added government after government gets around the law by promising or delivering “development aid” just before election.

He also stressed that under the Election Offences Act no bribery or undue influence or misuse of government machinery is allowed.

“Tampering with ballot papers, prevention someone from voting, permitting disqualified people to vote, arranging for phantom voters are all offences,” he said, adding racist and divisive speeches were illegal and any violation of the Act is a crime.

He stressed that enforcement of the law is the responsibility of the Commission.

“In Malaysia media monopoly is a serious problem. The internet is, however, open to everyone and provides an alternative, though not always reliable, source of information,” he said.

He told participants that the law requires the secrecy of the ballot and violating it would be a criminal offence.

Post election issues
Talking on Post-Election issues, Dr Shad Saleem explained on what is a Hung Parliament, the appointment of Prime Minister, summoning of parliament, double dissolution, crossing the floor, election appeals and vacancies.

He closed his presentation with the words, “I join you in fervent prayers that the forthcoming election will be incident free, that our racial and religious harmony will be maintained, and that the victors and vanquished will gracefully accept the results of the electoral process.”

He then took a few questions from the floor before the session came to an end at 5.15pm with Fr Frederick presenting him with a Certificate of Appreciation. — By Annie Cruez


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

CDM Penang focuses on the Word of God

PENANG: The Church of the Divine Mercy focused on the words, “… and God said…” as the feastday theme.

In his homily during the afternoon Mass on Divine Mercy Sunday, the Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph Marino, explained that the work of Jesus continued after his death, when he appeared to the apostles. He breathed on them and established the Church by saying, “As the Father sent me, I now send you” to continue his work by forgiving sins, feeding the hungry, comforting the sorrowful and healing the wounds of division.

The Church today is empowered by the Holy Spirit through the incarnation of Jesus in the Word of God and his Mercy. Mercy is the very foundation of Jesus’ teaching. It is mercy that sustains us in the Church to do works of charity. This is our primary mission. Our faith is active and we need to reach out to the marginalised and reinstate them. Whenever Jesus was asked to heal anyone, he was moved by compassion because he felt the pain and suffering of the person. In the same way, the Church does not condemn but seeks out those who are marginalised with compassion, and restores their humanity within the community. Pope Francis has said that the sign of a Christian in our world today is how we live with Mercy. The Nuncio ended by asking the parishioners to be a community of Mercy and to be one with Jesus who is the face of Mercy.

After Mass, there was a procession. The Nuncio carried the monstrance with the consecrated host around the neighbourhood of Sungai Ara. He was assisted by Fr Francis Anthony, Fr Joachim Robert and parish priest Fr Martin Arlando. After the procession and Benediction, there was the veneration of the relics of St Faustina and St Pope John Paul II. Finally, all who attended were invited for an early dinner as many pilgrims were from Ipoh and other outstation places and had to return home.

At the end of the weekend Masses, the parishioners were treated to a liturgical dance performed by the Youth Ministry on “Proclaiming the Word of God.” The audience were pleasantly surprised when Fr Martin joined in the last part of the dance to hold up the Bible.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Indonesian priest shares on BECs with Papar parishioners

Indonesian Priest Romo (Rev) Eduardo Raja of Ende Archdiocese Flores gave a sharing on Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs or Komuniti Kristian Dasar [KKD]) to Papar parishioners on 7 Apr 2018 at the Fr John Tsung Hall St Joseph Parish here.

The sharing was given during the Easter gathering after the Sunset Mass.

In his welcoming speech, PPC chairman Johnny Sitamin thanked the parishioners for their participation during the Holy Week celebrations, Romo Eduardo’s ministry to the Indonesian migrant and local communities at the outstation chapels and estates in Papar and Limbahau.

In his sharing, the visiting priest told his audience that the Ende BECs (or Komunitas Umat Basis or KUB as it is known in Indonesia) were started in the 1950s under the Congregation of Santa Maria and became an official body in the 1980s, providing prayer services with gospel reading and reflections, spiritual and economic community services.

Since 1987, the KUB has become a centre of generating and collecting ideas and discussion platform in dealing with all aspects of lives and thereafter stamped its direct involvement in pastoral activities.

The Priest said the KKD works best in smaller groups of 10-20 Catholic families living in a neighbourhood that know each other well, meeting weekly, praying, reading and sharing the Gospel, celebrating the Eucharist, sharing problems encountered, and searching for possible solutions to these problems.

Romo Eduardo stressed the need for all the BECs to work together in ensuring that pastoral faith formation and development are in line with the archdiocesan vision and mission.

Prior to this sharing, the audience witnessed the Easter cake cutting led by Father Thomas Yip and rendition of the blessed birthday and congratulation songs accompanied by the choirs, parish pastoral councillors, catechist, Sister Juanah Saliun and her novices, and the parishioners.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

A weekend retreat with Rabboni for Taiping parishioners

Psychology today tells us that 60 per cent of our actions flow from our unconscious mind. Hurts such as rejection, abandonment, humiliation, betrayals and injustices can be buried deep in our minds and cause us to isolate ourselves from others.

Fr Johnny, from India, shared with the parishioners of the Taiping Catholic Church that only the Holy Spirit can heal these inner hurts. He recommended prayer, daily reading of the scriptures and counselling. He also stressed on the power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation when he shared, from many of his own experiences, how confession has healed serious physical and mental illnesses. He spoke about the three levels of our mind: the conscious, sub-conscious and the unconscious mind.

The Taiping Catholic Church organised a Parish retreat entitled “A weekend with Rabboni,” April 6-8. The aim of the retreat was for parishioners to encounter the Risen Lord as Mary Magdalene did when she met Jesus soon after the resurrection and called Him Rabboni. Indeed for the 500 over participants, Jesus is now not just a historical figure, but is alive and amongst His people, bringing wholeness of mind, body and spirit.

The sessions were in five groups: English, Tamil, Mandarin, Bahasa and children (6-12 years). Fr Johnny was the main speaker for the English section, another Indian priest, Fr Aron attended to the Tamil-speaking group, Fr Martin Thien from Melaka presented for the Mandarin-speaking group, Fr Stanley Antoni the rector of College General, Sr Bibianah FSP and Sr Roseling FSP took care of the Bahasaspeaking group and Aron, the Youth leader and his team presented to the children.

The general direction given by the Parish priest, Fr Jude Miranda to the speakers was to lead the participants through a process of transformation of SELF, RELATIONSHIP and MISSION. Most of the speakers challenged listeners to confront the issues in their lives and honestly make an examination of their conscience. They recommended frequenting the sacraments, especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as remedies of healing and transformation.

Fr Aron began his session with the story of Mary Magdalene and how her encounter with Jesus set her free from darkness (seven demons) and transformed her to a life of holiness. Fr Martin Thien stressed that the salvation won by Jesus 2000 years ago must be received personally today before love can be effectively shared with family members and others. Fr Stanley, in the closing Mass, also emphasised that living a life of love is the goal of healing and transformation. He asked all to consider whether our love was mere “Cinta” or “Kasih.” In true love, there is discipline, speaking the truth and sacrificing ourselves for the good of others.

Everyone benefited from the sessions, including the children who loved the songs and group activities. Other than talks, the speakers also made time for home visitations, counselling, confessions and prayer ministry. At the end of the closing Mass, everyone was given a lighted candle to go forth and shine the light of the Risen Lord in their lives.

Here are some comments from participants: “I am now challenged to read the Bible 30 minutes every day. I plan to ‘Aspire to Inspire before I Expire’”(Charles Lesslar); “From the sessions, I once again heard God in these words, ‘Present pain has past history, so discover’”(Susan Lesslar); “At the prayer session, when I carried the cross, I was feeling pain in my left knee. Anyhow, I continued with a few more steps and the pain went away.”(Mandarin participant).

This Parish retreat can be summed up by the words of a young adult participant, “Truly, it was a weekend well spent in the Holy Octave of Easter, and the added joy of observing Divine Mercy Sunday in prayer, healing and worship; a Weekend with Rabboni indeed”(Deeviya).


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Prayer for our Nation

Leader: Let us proclaim the name of the Lord;
and ascribe greatness to our God!

All: Lord your work is perfect. And all your ways are just.
Let your voice be heard today by all the nations!

O God, Judge of the nations, put fear into our hearts,
So that we may know that we are only human.

Father, the whole of creation groans and labours
to be delivered from the bondage of corruption,
into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Lord Jesus, send forth Your Spirit of Truth
and let this Spirit prove to ‘the powers that be’
how wrong they are about sin, righteousness and judgment.

O Lord, declare the power of your works to Your peoples
and let us be filled with the knowledge of Your glory
as the waters cover the sea.

Gather us, O Lord, in Your name
and may all worship the One True God.



Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Be witnesses of God’s mercy

Evangelii Gaudium invites the whole Church to rejoice and transform. We, sometimes, do not see the joy in us, only the sorrow, said Fr Albet Arockiasamy to the parishioners of the Church of the Divine Mercy (CDM). The parish priest of the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Puchong added that the disciples witnessed the Risen Christ, but locked themselves in the room for fear of the Jews. Pope Francis asks us to have this pragmatic view of the Risen Lord and to be witnesses of Him.

“When we face a situation, God showers us with His mercy and Holy Spirit.

“As a Church, we must become merciful, as the Church is merciful and hospitable. Pope Francis said the Church must not become like a museum but, rather, those who come to the altar to receive the mercy of God must be transformed because Our God is full of mercy,” said Fr Albet.

Touching on Amoris Laetitia, the post-synodal apostolic exhortation by Pope Francis, Fr Albet said there must be joy in life. “To have this love of God, to radiate this love of God. Look at those people going through difficult times, those who are separated, divorced, single mothers. How do we treat them? With love, mercy or cynicism? The Church calls us to be open.”

Going to confession is asking for forgiveness for our sins. “As disciples of hope, trusting in the Lord, we need to give hope to one another. The Risen Christ comes to us and forgives our sins. And we must, therefore, be merciful to others. Jesus showers us with his mercy. Let us come, like Thomas and the others, to the Lord who breathes into them, and into us, empowering them and us, forgiving us all.”

After Mass, parish priest Fr Gerard Theraviam thanked all the celebrants and concelebrants for sharing the joy of the Risen Lord and the joy of Divine Mercy. He also expressed his appreciation to those who came from other places and invited them for tea fellowship.

There were five Masses on April 8, 2018, being the Divine Mercy Sunday. Archbishop Julian Leow was the preacher at the 11.30am Mass in Bahasa Malaysia.


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

The training module called See-Judge-Act

The training module on SEE-JUDGEACT methodology is a systematic analysis of society with action plans to bring change. It was intended for all groups and communities irrespective of their faith and belief.

The aim is to address:

— individuals
— organisations
— groups within the Church

who are responsible for guiding with references to the Bible and teachings of the Church as the source of motivation for social change.

The focus and point of reference is more on human values, United Nations charters and source of motivation for social involvement in different religions and faiths. The module is divided into three parts:

— Part A & B — using the SEE-JUDGEACT method, the concepts and phiZlosophy of the Review of Life (ROL) is dispensed. Explanation of definitions, concept and components is made to understand clearly upon adopting the practical life situations.

–Part C — synthesises the Review of Life (ROL) through the SEE-JUDGE-ACT method presenting the reality of life and communities analysed. The overview of how discoveries evolve in a day to day life and how it leads to a concrete plan of action is experienced.

— Part D — provides motivation for social action in different perspectives

Importance of Social Analysis
Social analysis is a key element of “SEE, JUDGE, ACT” and the concept is an essential part of evangelisation as believers and disciples of Jesus Christ. Our faith leads us to work for a more just world, and social analysis is a necessary element of carrying out the work.

In the words of Pope Paul VI, It is up to the Christian communities to analyse with objectivity the situation which is proper to their own country, to shed on it the light of the Gospel’s unalterable words and to draw principles of reflection, norms of judgment and directives for action from the social teaching of the Church.

He has urged us to go beyond the symptoms and effects of injustice and seek out the root causes: We should not limit ourselves to deploring the negative effects of the present situation of crisis and injustice. What we are really required to do is destroy the roots that cause these effects.

The ‘education through action’ method developed by Cardinal Joseph Leo Cardijn, enables us to review our lives and that of others in the community in leading towards a just and new society, allowing the ‘Review Of Life” as the tool for social analysis.

In a given situation, “See-judge-Act” is about:

see with the eyes of Christ
judge with the heart of Christ
act as Christ would act.

In other words, this is a “social observation method” where we are to review or analyse to:

‘see’ or ‘observe’ in an unbiased way for the wellbeing of all as the only intention
‘judge’ reasons for existing situations centred on human and spiritual values
‘act’ to change the dehumanizing and unjust situations

Using SEE-JUDGE-ACT for life application
The social message of the Gospel can be transferred into a “practice method” allowing us to embed it as a system within us.

Let us look at the process of using the SEEJUDGE- ACT reflection action method.

1. What do we observe – (SEE)
See, hear and experience the lived reality of individuals and communities. Carefully examine the facts of the situation. l What are the people in the situation doing?

— How are they feeling?
–What are they saying?
–What do we see happening to them?
— How are they responding?

2. What do we decide – (JUDGE)
This is the heart of the process and it has two parts: Social Analysis and Theological Reflection

Social Analysis:
Obtain a more complete picture of the social situation by exploring its historical and structural relationships. In this step, we attempt to make sense of the reality that was observed in Step 1. Why are things this way? What are the root causes of the situation?

Theological Reflection:
Analyse the experience in the light of Scripture and the Church’s social teaching.

–Do biblical values and the principles of the Church’s social teaching help us to see this reality in a different way?
–Does this experience correspond with the vision and teachings of Scripture and the Church’s social thinking?
— If not, in what ways does it not match? The word ‘judge’ is used here in a positive sense: to analyse the situation using simple social and theological tools. It does not imply that we judge other people or that we are judgmental. They are practical techniques to understand the meaning of a situation and to respond effectively.

3. What do we do – (ACT)
Plan and carry out actions aimed at transforming the social structures that contribute to suffering and injustice. It is important to remember that this is a process. It is a cycle that is continually repeated. After completing Step Three, the participants return to Step One, observing new realities, making new judgments, and finding new ways to act.

This process is intended for groups working together, rather than for single individuals. The group process allows for a:

–richer reflection
–deeper analysis
–more creative search for effective action


Article reproduced from Herald Malaysia online

Ascension Day Masses (May 10)

The solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord is a day of obligation.  The Masses will be celebrated as follows:

Wed May 9
Sacred Heart Cathedral KK, 6 pm, English
Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang, 6 pm, Mandarin
St Paul Dontizon, 6 pm, Kadazan
Our Lady Queen of Peace Kobusak, 6 pm, BM
St John Kopungit, 6 pm, BM

Thu May 10
Sacred Heart Cathedral KK, 6 am, English
St Paul Dontozidon, 6:30 am, English
Carmelite Chapel KK, 6:30 am, English


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu

26 participate in basic catechists course

The participants pose with their certificates and the organisers after the closing Mass, 28 Apr 2018, Emmanus Home Karamunsing.

KOTA KINABALU – Twenty-six budding catechists attended the BM basic course for catechists at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here on 9-28 Apr 2018.

The participants – mostly young and new – came from different parishes in the archdioceses with two from Paitan Mission in Sandakan Diocese.

In its second year, the course is first of a three-level course organised by the Archdiocesan Catechetical Commission headed by Franciscan Sister Dariah Ajap, assisted by Sister Imelda Angang.

Aside from several inputs (catechist’s vocation, spirituality, CCC, Liturgy, Mariology, homiletics, Bible, leadership, evangelisation), the participants also went to the outstation chapels to help out on two Sundays as part of their practicum.

Father Nicholas Stephen, adviser to the commission,  presided at the closing Mass Apr 28 at the Emmaus Home chapel, followed by the presentation of attendance certificates to the participants and ended with lunch at the parish canteen.

Level II will be held on July 8-27 while Level III will be on Sept 9-28, also at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre.


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu

SHC organises 24 hours of prayer

A section of the congregation at the opening Mass of the 24 Hours of Prayer for the 14th General Elections, Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing, 27 Apr 2018.

KOTA KINABALU – In response to the call by the Malaysian Bishops Conference for 24 Hours of Prayer for the 14th General Election (May 9), the Sacred Heart Cathedral Parish here organised one starting with an opening Mass at 7:30 pm on 27 Apr 2018.

Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament followed immediately after Mass at the chapel with groups, ministries, and communities from the cathedral parish and Church of Mary Immaculate Bukit Padang taking turns to keep vigil.

In place of the homily, the bishops’ pastoral letter was read in English (Father Joshua Liew), BM (Deacon Russell Lawrine) and Mandarin (Archbishop John Wong).

The event closed with Sunset Mass Apr 28 at 6 pm.

In addition, the parish will be having a trilingual novena of prayers, April 30 – May 8, from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the chapel.  All are welcome to join in the prayers for the nation.

Meanwhile, St Peter Claver Ranau will be organising a “Lighting a Thousand Candles” with rosary recitation and Mass on May 4 for the same intention at its Baby Jesus Shrine.


Article reproduced from Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu
error: Content is protected !!