Day 22

Posted On August 12, 2007

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Melaka/ Negeri Sembilan

MELAKA

• Founded by Parameswara who converted to Islam in 1414. He changed his name to Megat Iskandar Shah.

• Muhammad Shah (1424-1444) established an administrative system based on the Hindu pattern of government. The system continued to operate until the Portuguese invasion in 1511.

• Mudzaffar Shah (1446-59) proclaimed Islam as the state religion.

• The famous Melaka hero, Hang Tuah, lived during the reign of Mansur Shah (1459-1477).

• Sultan Mahmud Shah (1488-1528) was the last sultan. He fled Melaka during Portuguese invasion in the early 16th century.

• Was surrendered to the British in the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.

• Main contribution: incorporation of Islamic ideas into the Malay culture.

NEGERI SEMBILAN

• Greatly influenced by Minangkabau culture, adat perpatih.

• The Minangkabau from Sumatra settled here in the 15th century.

• In 1773, Raja Melewar was proclaimed the first ruler of Negeri Sembilan, known as Yang Di-Pertuan Besar.

• Civil war in Sungai Ujong led to British intervention in 1873.

• Accepted a British Resident in 1895.

• Now consists of six states. Naning was annexed by Melaka, Kelang by Selangor and Segamat by Johor.

• The Yang Di-Pertuan Besar is elected by the Undangs (territorial chiefs of the state). Only four Undangs (Sungai Ujong, Jelebu, Johol and Rembau) have the right to vote.

We praise God
for His grace and His good works in Melaka and Negeri Sembilan,
for His providence and blessings upon the people.

PRAY
1. State governments: wisdom, integrity and corrupt-free, prioritise public interests, good stewardship of state funds, respect and uphold religious freedom.
2. Transparency and efficiency in all public services.
3. Against the spirit of those who incite hatred, bigotry and intolerance.
4. Religious authorities to be sensible and moderate in carrying out their duties. Against the spirit of overzealousness.
5. Crime reduction.
6. Youth and young adults of all ethnic groups:
    Wisdom, courage, and good discernment; good role models and good family relationship; moral purity and honesty.
7. Economic sufficiency especially for those involved in agriculture, e.g. farming and fishing.
8. Economic development and employment opportunities.

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Day 21

Posted On August 11, 2007

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NEW ECONOMIC POLICY (NEP)

The government cited the May 13 incident as the main cause of its more aggressive affirmative action, i.e. the New Economic Policy (NEP). NEP was a 20-year plan launched in 1971 to bridge the economic gap between the Malays and the non- Malays by ensuring the former a 30 per cent equity participation in the nation’s economy. Within this period, NEP did successfully create a Malay middle-class and make Malay millionaires. It had also helped to diffuse racial tensions.
The 20-year plan is now approaching its 36th year. Growing discontent in the recent years was evident among the Malays themselves as a new divide emerged between the small elite and majority rural poor. Some argued that it had become a tool for certain groups to increase their wealth. Others claimed that the policy strayed from its original purpose and became a new source of disunity in the country. Still others criticised that the quotas had allowed corruption to fester.
Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister, recently called it an old obsolete thinking in the economic policy and said that it would not benefit Malays in today’s competitive world.
At the same time, the poor Chinese and Indians complained of being marginalised. Orang Asli communities continue to be the poorest in the country.
While the Prime Minister claimed that “the implementation of NEP cannot be seen as a racial issue,” it was in fact built upon a race-based paradigm. At the Dewan Rakyat in March, he said that the goal of 30 per cent equity for Bumiputera “must be pushed until it is achieved” (NST, 23/3/07).

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. Those who drafted the original NEP with the noble intention of helping the less privileged.
b. The policy which had helped some of the people intended.
2. The government to
a. readily accept and recognise the flaws in NEP, and sagaciously1 revise it to benefit all citizens.
b. be bold in making new and just policies, free of discrimination, that will benefit the less privileged of all ethnic groups.
3. Against the spirit of envy, strife, deceit and wickedness, particularly those who intentionally abuse government policies.
1 Sagacious: Having or showing keen discernment, sound judgment, and farsightedness.

Day 20

Posted On August 10, 2007

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RUKUNEGARA
In January 1970, the Department of National Unity (DNU) and National Consultative Council (NCC) were formed to address racial issues and to promote national unity. DNU, headed by Tan Sri Ghazali, drafted the national ideology which was then approved by NCC.
In August, at the 13th anniversary of Merdeka, the Yang di-Pertuan Agong formally announced the statement of national ideology, the Rukunegara.
The Rukunegara became the basic model for the government to bring about national unity. It spelled out the principles meant to serve as a bond to bind together all Malaysian citizens.
“Our Nation, MALAYSIA, is dedicated –

To achieving a greater unity for all her peoples;

To maintaining a democratic way of life;

To creating a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably distributed;
To ensuring a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions;
To building a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology.
We, her peoples, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends guided by these principles –
Belief in God (Kepercayaan kepada Tuhan)
Loyalty to King and Country (Kesetiaan kepada Raja dan Negara)
Upholding the Constitution (Keluhuran Perlembagaan)
Rule of Law (Kedaulatan Undang-undang)
Good Behaviour and Morality (Kesopanan and Kesusilaan).”

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His wisdom upon those involved in drafting the Rukunegara.
b. Those who tirelessly promote national unity.
2. All citizens to consciously engage in national integration; promote mutual respect and acceptance of
one another irrespective of race and religion.
3. The government to treat all citizens as equal with no favouritism towards one race in policies and projects.
4. The government to fully execute the principles of democracy (justice, equality, and respect for human rights and fundamental liberties) in its governance and administration.
5. The supremacy of the Federal Constitution be upheld and respected at all times.
6. All “Malaysians to guard against all forms of extremism, chauvinism, racism and isolation” (Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah).
7. Malaysia moves towards a progressive, courteous, and just pluralistic society.

Day 19

Posted On August 9, 2007

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INDIAN
Most Malay states in the early days had a growing Indian population, many of whom were Muslim traders. Among them were men who moved easily between two cultures. It was not uncommon for an Indian trader to have “one wife in India and one in Perak” as mentioned in the Misa Melayu.
In the 19th century, Indians arrived to meet the demands for cheap labour in the British owned sugar and coffee plantations. The demand for Indian workers intensified when rubber was introduced in 1905. The colonial government became directly involved in the recruitment process. Many of them were Hindus from South India.
Partly because of the lack of resources to pay for their return to homeland, many stayed on. However, fewer career options subjected many to alienation and exploitation in the estates. As a result, a group of locally born poor Indians was overlooked and denied of their rights to identity and citizenship after the Independence.
When the manufacturing and service industries supplanted agriculture, many workers lost their jobs and their livelihood was severely affected. Nonetheless, the Indians who were already engaging in commercial activities, especially the Muslim Indians, prospered.
Indians are the smallest of the three main ethnic groups and controlled only about 1.5 per cent of the country’s wealth.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His love for the Indians.
b. Those who have laboured in the plantations and contributed to the economic growth.
c. Those who are committed to take care of the poor and needy, especially the orphans.
d. The missionaries in the early days who served among the Indians.
2. The government to properly address the plight of the stateless local born Indians who do not have access to education, health care, employment and housing.
3. The less privileged Indians not to be left out in government development projects.
4. The rich Indians to be willing to help the less privileged by creating opportunities for jobs (especially in the rural areas), skill-training and self-reliance.
5. Salt & light:
a. Christians to demonstrate God’s goodness in the communities, marketplace and public sector.
b. Tamil-speaking churches to stand firm and be actively involved in the community, bearing witness to God’s goodness.

Day 18

Posted On August 8, 2007

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CHINESE
The first significant Chinese settlements date from as early as the 13th century. However, the best known early contacts were during the 15th century when Admiral Cheng Ho visited Melaka.
Some early Chinese traders settled and founded small communities. They had intermarried with Malays, producing what was later known as Babas or Straits Chinese. The early Chinese communities each had their own Kapitan Cina, appointed by the Dutch in Melaka and elsewhere by the Malay rulers.
Economic opportunities continued to draw large number of migrant Chinese, particularly during the British rule.
Foochow Chinese immigrants played a major role in opening up the plantation sector in Sibu. In 1901 Pastor Wong Nai Siong brought the first group of Foochow from China, to cultivate the fertile land around Sibu (NST, 18/3/07).
The Chinese, apart from Baba, spoke their own language or dialects, and practiced their distinctive ways of life and custom. They tended to congregate in urban settlements and preferred to live in their own areas.
It was said that in 1940, the Chinese (2,400,000) outnumbered the Malays (2,300,000) in the Peninsula.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His love for the Chinese.
b. The first group of Christian Chinese immigrants who sowed the seed in this land.
c. The missionaries who responded to His call to minister to the Chinese and helped set up Chinese schools.
d. Their contribution to the economic growth in the nation.
2. Chinese corporate community to willingly share their resources and expertise for the good of the societies and in poverty-eradication.
3. More Chinese to serve the nation through joining uniformed groups and public services.
4. In its effort to help the Malays, Government will not leave out the less privileged Chinese in its projects.
5. Salt & light:
a. Christians to demonstrate God’s goodness in the communities, marketplace and public sector.
b. Fresh vision and active community involvement for Chinese-speaking churches especially in the new villages.

Day 17

Posted On August 7, 2007

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MALAYS
Before the embrace of Islam and Islamic laws, the Peninsular Malays lived for centuries under Hindu rajas. When the Melaka Sultanate adopted Islam, to be a Muslim is to “masuk Melayu”.
Despite the historical, social-cultural origin and ethnic heritage, Malays as a people group took on legal definition during British intervention.
The first formal colonial definition of ‘Malay’ was made in the 1913 Malay Reservation Acts, classifying a Malay as any person belonging to the Malayan race who habitually spoke Malay or any other Malayan language and who professed Islam.
Article 160 of the Federal Constitution defines Malay as “a person who professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay custom and –
(a) was before Merdeka Day born in the Federation or in Singapore or born of parents one of whom was born in the Federation or in Singapore, or is on that day domiciled in the Federation or in Singapore; or
(b) is the issue of such a person.”
The term ‘Bumiputera’ (‘sons of the soil’) was used in the Constitution referring to Malays and other indigenous groups. Consistent with the constitution, the ‘Bumiputeras’ are guaranteed a special position, safeguarded by Yang diPertuan Agong, “in the public service (other than the public service of a State) and of scholarships, exhibitions and other similar educational or training privileges or special facilities.”
Theoretically, a Malay who converted out of Islam would have to forfeit his constitutional privileges. It would also be legally possible for a non-Malay citizen to become a Malay if he or she were to fulfil the constitutional criteria.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His love and His divine purpose for the ethnic Malays.
b. Giving the ethnic Malays creativity and their artistic ability.
c. Raising capable national leaders among them.
2. The government to recognise the real problems faced by the Malays and to review policies in order to empower them towards self-reliance.
3. Good policies to be fairly and effectively implemented to benefit the true less privileged and not the small elite.
4. Rich and capable Malays be willing to help the less privileged by creating opportunities for jobs (especially in the rural areas), skill-training and self-reliance.
5. Minds and hearts be enlightened that
a. They will not be easily influenced by those who intentionally stir up racial/religious sentiments.
b. They will be able to discern and resist the ultra conservative views that may lead to extremism.
6. Salt & light:
a. Christian business community to demonstrate God’s goodness by providing measures to empower the Malays towards self-reliance.
b. Local churches (especially the Bahasa-speaking churches) to actively engage in community services in the rural areas with no strings attached.

Day 16

Posted On August 6, 2007

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THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES
There are 28 officially recognised indigenous ethnic groups in Sabah. The largest group is the Christian-majority Kadazan-Dusun, followed by Muslimmajority Bajau, and Murut.
In Sarawak, Christian-majority Ibans form the major ethnic group with about 31.2 per cent of the total population, followed by the Bidayuh, Melanau and other tribes of Sarawak.
The Federal Constitution regards the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak as “natives”. In the Peninsula, the Bumiputeras are essentially the Muslim Malays; in Sarawak and Sabah however, the Bumiputeras include all the indigenous groups, both Muslims and non-Muslims, as listed in the Constitution.
Article 161 (A) provides for the special position of Sabah and Sarawak natives. It spells out what “native” means and which groups are considered native. It also outlines the conditions for the reservation of lands and the preferential treatment.
Regardless, the Sabah and Sarawak rural indigenous communities face similar problems as the Orang Asli. Their customary lands are being encroached upon by the timber industry and development projects (e.g. building of large dams).
It has also been claimed that the Ibans are being marginalised or sidelined in terms of job opportunities and promotions in the public sectors.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. Sending the first group of missionaries to sow the seed among the natives.
b. The spiritual revivals in certain communities (e.g. Bario, Ba Kelalan, etc.) and His abundant blessings on the people.
c. Raising capable indigenous leaders.
2. Honest and just state governments to fairly and effectively eliminate poverty among the natives.
3. All state projects to prioritise public interests and no tribe to be left behind.
4. Business community to help create job opportunities; the rich to empower the poor.
5. Effective implementation of laws to protect the natives and their land.
6. Any discriminatory policies and actions to be removed.
7. Salt & light:
a. Christian natives to shine God’s light in their respective arenas.
b. Churches to demonstrate God’s goodness and to sow seed in their respective communities.
c. The fire and passion for the Lord to be rekindled.

Day 15

Posted On August 5, 2007

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ORANG ASLI (OA )
They numbered 147,412 in 2003 representing a mere 0.6 per cent of the national population (26.5 million).
Land is a pressing issue for the OA because it is their primary source of life and is crucial for the continuity of their communities.
In the Peninsula, when an area is declared as protected, the land rights of the OA are the first to be affected. The people become part of the project of eco-tourism or ecological protection and may be told where to stay. When their land is displaced by development projects, they are either given monetary compensation which may not be sufficient to make up for the loss, or are given another piece of land of which they obtain no written permanent tenure.
Without a land to be called their own, what is the right of the OA in building places of worship? Article 11 gives every person, i.e. including the OA, the right to profess and practice his religion, and every religious group to establish and maintain institutions for religious or charitable purposes.
However, the inconsistencies in definitions and interpretation of land rights between the OA and the states have created considerable conflicts especially in building places of worship.
None of the provisions on OA ancestral rights over land (The Aboriginal Peoples Act 1954, revised in 1974) are included in the National Land Code Act 56/65.
So far, only about 12 per cent of all the 869 OA settlements are properly gazetted as Orang Asli reserves.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. His love for the Orang Asli.
b. His blessings upon the growing OA churches.
c. Raising capable OA Christian leaders.
d. Non-OA churches that are supportive.
2. The authorities to resolve the plight of OA communities and recognise their rights to land and religious freedom.
3. The government to consider amending the National Land Code in terms of land entitlement for the OA.
4. In the event of compulsory acquisition of their lands, OA are equitably compensated for their lands.
5. OA themselves to stand up for their rights with boldness and wisdom.
6. OA parents to recognise the importance of education for their children.
7. Salt & light:
a. Churches to be bold and courageous in voicing OA dilemma and to serve the communities with humility in all aspects with no strings attached.
b. OA Christian leaders to be full of spirit and wisdom.
c. OA Christians to stand firm in the Lord, and demonstrate God’s goodness in their respective communities.

Day 14

Posted On August 4, 2007

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THE PROMISES OF THE BN GOVERNMENT
In his keynote address at the Invest Malaysia 2007, the Prime Minister cited the launch of the National Education Blueprint as evidence of the government keeping to its promises. “We will continue to work hard to deliver our promises to the people,” he said (The Star, 23/3/07).
Three years ago, in the 2004 general elections campaign, Barisan Nasional (the present government), came up with its manifesto. The promises made, among many others, were:
• It “ensures that no group is neglected or left behind, and that each citizen has a stake in nation-building”.
• Believing “in fair and equitable sharing of the fruits of economic growth. Development must benefit all areas of the country and all groups”.
• It “upholds the diversity of religious practice, language and culture” and “safeguards the interests of all citizens,” “listens to and acts on the hopes and aspirations of all groups regardless of age, gender, ethnic background and religion”.
• It “will defend the Constitution and the laws of the country”.
• While Islam is the official religion, it “believes in a tolerant and progressive Islam. Freedom to worship other religions is guaranteed by the Constitution”.

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. The Prime Minister who is humble and willing to serve the nation and the people.
b. The ministers and elected representatives who are committed to serve the nation and look after the people’s welfare.
2. The government to fulfil and carry out what it has promised the people.
3. PM:
a. Grounded in truth.
b. Ruled by humility.
c. Filled with wisdom and discernment.
d. Unwavering in justice and in doing what is right.
e. Surrounded by wise men and women of integrity who prioritise national interests.
4. Corrupted ministers, department heads, and elected representatives to be
a. Exposed
b. Removed
c. Replaced by men and women of good standing who can effectively carry out their duties.
5. Salt & light:
    Christian ministers, department heads and elected representatives to
a. Stand firm on godly principles without fear of man or influence.
b. Demonstrate God’s goodness in their respective areas.

Day 13

Posted On August 3, 2007

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QUALIFIED RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
While Article 11 of the Federal Constitution grants every person the freedom to profess, practice and propagate his religion, other constitutional provisions must be taken into serious consideration in the interpretation.
The pluralistic nature of this nation creates greater sensitivity with respect to the scope of religious liberty. At the same time, the freedom of profession, practice and propagation is subject to general laws that seek to maintain public order, public health or morality.
In addition, states and Federal Territories are permitted to make laws to “control and restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine” among the Muslims. Attempts have been made by certain State Legislative Assemblies to restrain activities of proselytising to Muslims.
The former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Tun Salleh Abbas, once remarked that such limitation was “logical as it is a necessary consequence of the fact that Islam is the religion of the Federation…to protect Muslims from being exposed to heretical religious doctrines, be they of Islamic or non-Islamic origin and irrespective of whether the propagators are Muslims or non-Muslims.”
Numerous incidents over the years indicate that the issue of religion and freedom of religion is extremely sensitive.
Although many would agree that limitations on freedom of religion or belief are necessary for the public order and welfare, a question may be asked whether these are imposed by law in a non-discriminatory manner.

(Extracted from http://www.necf.org.my/newsmaster.cfm&menuid=12&action=view&retrieveid=399)

PRAY

1. Praise God for
a. The relative freedom to worship Him and to profess our faith.
b. The many Malaysian citizens who have respect for one another and are willing to accommodate each other regardless of religious background.
2. Article 11 to be fully realised so that every citizen has the right to worship and to profess the religion of his/her choice.
3. Against the spirit behind those who exploit religion to create public disorder and to promote religious extremism.
4. Those who are in marital and custody disputes will not abuse religion for their own benefit.
5. Salt & light:
    Christian judges, lawmakers, lawyers, advocates, etc.
a. To stand firm on godly principles without fear of man or power or influence.
b. To demonstrate God’s goodness in their respective areas.

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