COMMENT | Can religion help save Malaysia? Tis the season – of year-end reflection. And as we usher in 2021, what role should religion play in politics? Andrew Sia 4 h ago 24

COMMENT | Many years ago, I spoke to Baru Bian, then of PKR, about the role of his religion, Christianity, in his “perjuangan” (mission). I recalled him saying that the Bible taught that its followers should stand up for justice in society, and that is why he decided to help fight court cases where lands of Sarawak natives were being grabbed by powerful politicians and business tycoons (including “Christian” ones from Sibu).

That later naturally led him to politics. After all, if the laws drawn up by those in power favour the strong over the weak, then perhaps we should try to change those laws. However, I remember him telling me back then that his own church was not very comfortable with such advocacy.

There are different views about if, and how much, Christians should be involved in politics. Should they vote? Obviously, yes. How about speaking up for a better country and standing for elections? Some believe that Christians should detach from this world and just focus on “spiritual” matters, such as prayer and preaching, especially since politics is seen as “dirty”. But does that mean that politics should be surrendered to the bad apples?

Baru Bian’s betrayal of the voters’ mandate during the Sheraton Move has, for me, sullied his reputation, though he salvaged matters with a dramatic, last-minute U-turn. However, there were several other “Christian” politicians who had no qualms about being political frogs.

On the other hand, I have utmost respect for DAP leader Hannah Yeoh, in stating clearly that “God wants to reclaim politics and public service in Malaysia” and that Christians can, indeed should, make a positive contribution in this country.

There are some who moan that they have “lost hope” in the country and no longer “feel like voting”. My answer is always, “Sure, not everyone in Pakatan Harapan is good, but have you lost hope in sincere politicians like…


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