Putting the nation before personal or political interests, Malaysians must act charitably and constructively for the good of the country, Malaysian bishops said today.
In calling on Malaysians to build interracial and interreligious respect and trust, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Malaysia said patriotic citizens had to speak out against ills in society.
In an Independence Day and Malaysia Day message, the bishops said racially and religiously motivated forms of polarisation must not be allowed to grow.
The bishops called on lawmakers, civil leaders and those who implement the law to uphold the principles of the Rukun Negara and the Federal Constitution, according to a report in Malay Mail Online.
“For us as citizens, the spirit of patriotism and love for our country must impel us to speak out courageously against the ills besetting our country and to make sacrifices when called upon. We must act charitably and constructively for the good of our country,” they said.
They added: “Let us place our country and society above individual and political interest and enthuse a culture of peace by intensifying our linkages of friendship and fostering goodwill and harmony so that all Malaysians can live and prosper together as one integrated nation, enriched by our ethnic and cultural diversities. United we stand, divided we fall.”
They also called on the government to carry out its obligation with a greater sense of accountability, transparency and integrity amid various problems affecting the nation and that require urgent action, according to the report.
The bishops listed issues such as the National Security Council Act 2016, the country’s financial situation, loss of jobs and government wastages as among problems that needed to be tackled immediately.
The report said the bishops also reminded leaders that a nation’s strength was determined by how it treated the weakest members of society such as the poor, unemployed and those struggling with disabilities.
“Money must serve, not rule,” they said, according to the Malay Mail Online report.
The message was signed by the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Julian Leow Being Kim, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia on behalf of the Archbishop of Kuching John Ha, the Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu John Wong, the Bishop of Penang Sebastian Francis, the Bishop of the Malacca-Johor diocese Bernard Paul, the Bishop of Keningau Cornelius Piong, the Bishop of Sandakan Julius Dusin Gitom, the Bishop of Miri Richard Ng and the Bishop of Sibu Joseph Hii.