Friday, May 09, 2008

Seri Setia Church leaders meet with Nik Nazmi

Just returned from a meeting with Church pastors and leaders in the constituency of Seri Setia. Nik Nazmi asked me during a thanksgiving lunch at his house if there were any churches in the SS constituency and I said I'd find out. I called NECF, which subsequently led to a meeting with 5 different churches in the area. After a month long planning, we finally got it to happen.

Several issues were raised especially the question about meeting in shophouses which is not gazetted as a place of worship. Many Christian churches in malaysia have no land to built their church and so resort to meeting and worshipping in shop houses. Realising that getting land may not be a simple task for all the churches (perhaps impossible); the church leaders asked for an official recognition for them to meet in their respective shoplots and asked if they could get a relief for cukai pintu and assessment for being a religous place of worship.

Nik Nazmi has had much exposure having had a primary school education in La Salle PJ, a catholic missionary school and having read law in the UK in a very anglican (or church of England) university showed that he was very comfortable engaging with the Christian leaders. Putting forward his islamic principles and teaching, he assured them that he wanted to be fair and just in providing and protecting the christian (and other religion's) right to worship.

Nik Nazmi and several church leaders discussed about the possibility of working together in doing social work like free tuition for the under privelege; which Keadilan has already started in Desa Mentari and Praise Emmanuel not too far away. Life Sanctuary did a blood donation drive and Nik Nazmi was keen to participate the next time they have it.

Nik Nazmi said he was willing to speak with their congregations as well if the opportunity arises during any social events.

If anything this has opened door for greater dialogue betwee the churches and their state representative. I am just glad that I've had the oppotunity to help the churches in bringing their fears and concerns to Nik and in breaking down some walls....created by the last regime! One wall at a time......