Perkasa says ‘in love’ with new Christian Group
A newly formed alliance between Malay rights group Perkasa and a Christian movement is urging politicians to stop using religion for personal and political gain.
The controversial group, together with Christians for Peace and Harmony Malaysia (CPHM), have also resolved to abstain from issuing statements on religious conflicts that arise until they have consulted each other.
The two groups announced this today after a two-hour dialogue at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur and a lunch together.
Speaking to reporters at a press conference after the meeting, Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said that the two groups “had fallen in love” with each other and had also decided to go on an overnight retreat to spend time understanding each other better.
Ibrahim went on to describe their coming together as “a gift from God”, calling his new allies from CPHM, Rev Wong Kim Kong and Lee Min Choon, a well-known Christian leader and former president of the Bible Society of Malaysia, respectively.
“We agreed today that Malaysia is a testbed for peace and harmony among religions and this is a gift from God for us to strive together for peace and harmony,” Ibrahim said.
Wong said that the two groups agreed to work towards diffusing misconceptions such as the notion that there was a serious rift between the different religious groups in Malaysia.
“We want to mediate conflicts and have agreed that if there are any issues of conflict that arise, we will consult each other before we respond, with the aim of saving the situation. In other words, redemption will be our main focus,” the Christian leader said.
Describing today’s meeting as historic, Ibrahim said that their new alliance was proof that Perkasa was not extremist or anti-Christian as perceived by some.
“We have turned the tables around today, we are going to show the people that we are able to work together for a better future.
“In that sense, you can regard us as extremists, in that we want to do good for all religions,” he said.
Neither group is engaging in dialogue about their respective religious doctrines but instead say they are focused on ways to build peace and harmony.
When asked how they planned to extend their message to the public, Ibrahim said that it was not possible to reach out to everyone, but added that Perkasa and CPHM would hold joint programmes in hopes that more people would follow.
“We plan to lead by example, and believe people will follow our lead.
“If a leader is good, the rakyat will do good, but if leaders keep fighting and issuing sensitive statements, it will not help.”
Programmes planned for now include a dinner in Segamat on Wednesday, a gathering at a surau on Thursday and a gathering with the residents in Rifle Range, Penang, on September 16 in conjunction with Malaysia Day.
Both leaders said that religion should not be used for any personal or political agenda.
“We appeal to people actively involved in national affairs to allow religious adherents to deal with issues of conflict on religion, and not to use religion for personal agenda,” Wong said.
Ibrahim said he also hoped political parties would stop politicising religion.
Attendees at the meeting today included Perkasa secretary-general Syed Hassan Syed Ali and Pastor Edwin Agong and Rev Goh Cheng Gui from CPHM. – August 8, 2015.