Malaysia in 2016 and beyond

Malaysia in 2016 and beyond : New Landscapes, Eight areas of concern

Oct 20, 2016

New Landscapes: Eight areas of concern

1. New Poor

A new Malaysian Society with a large multi- ethnic middle class comprising of 40 per cent of the population

There is less absolute poverty in this new society, down from 50 per cent in 1970 to only 1.7 per cent in 2012

However, the Malaysia Human Development Report 2013 shows a worsening relative poverty between states/regions, urban-rural divide, and within ethnic groups.

The poor are especially concentrated in rural Sarawak and Sabah, as well as in urban slums and squatter settlements throughout Malaysia.

State          -      Index

Sabah         -      8.1
Kelantan      -      2.7
Sarawak      -      2.4
Perlis           -     1.9
Terengganu  -     1.7
Kedah         -     1.7
Perak          -     1.5
Pahang       -     1.3
Johor          -    0.9
Kuala Lumpur WP - 0.8
Penang       -    0.6
Negeri Sembilan -0.5
Selangor          -0.4
Malacca          - 0.1

2. ‘Small’ politics

Help to make Malaysia as democratic a nation as possible. History tells us that minority rights are best protected within a democratic, rather than an authoritarian or Islamic, theocratic state.

Help to consolidate a two-coalition political system so that these coalitions can be checks on one another.

Reach out to those in civil society and engage in small participatory politics too; so that this autonomous public sphere, in turn can check upon those in power, from whichever party.

3. Dialogue

The Church and Christians must actively engage in dialogue with non-Christians, especially Muslims, at all levels: not only to promote the formation of a problem-solving interfaith council/commission and consolidate the work of the MCCBCHST, but to also conduct dialogues of theological exchange, of religious experiences, of action and of everyday life.

In particular, we must reach out to socalled Muslim democrats, liberal Muslims, and generally those who do not support the introduction of the Syariah.

4. Foreign Labour

A consequence of our economic development strategy has been the migration of foreign labour, legally and illegally, to Malaysia. There are an estimated 4.5 million foreign labourers who perform 4D (dirty, difficult, dangerous and damaging) jobs.

Most of them have no access to Socso, EPF, Overtime, holidays, medical, cost of living allowance (COLA), decent housing. They are often without their families.

Some of the concerns: There is a dire need for education for the children of illegal migrants. Healthcare.

5. Labour Movement

There are only seven per cent of some 11 million Malaysian employees who are unionised.

The labour movement itself is weak and marginalised.

We used to have an active YCW movement, and cooperatives. Is there a calling for us here? Can the Church and Christians provide solace for tired, underpaid, oppressed workers? Recently, due to the downturn of the economy, some have been retrenched without due compensation, even with salaries unpaid, because the factories have closed.

Should we help the unions to revamp themselves so that they can better protect workers?

6. Youth

As Malaysian youth lead and drive this realm of participatory politics, it is necessary that young Christians, too, are part of this movement of youth to build a better Malaysia. It is not evident that our Youth programmes encourage our Youth to witness their faith by reaching out in this manner.

Youth programmes appear to be too inward looking, even conservative.

Related to conscientising Youth is the need for the Church to become more IT-savvy.

Digitalisation of Malaysians, esp the youth

Fixed broadband subscription

2005 - 483,000
2008 - 1.3m
2013 - 2.4m

Internet Users per 100 people

2005 - 48.6
2008 - 55
2013 - 67

Mobile cellular subscriptions per 100 people

2005 - 75
2008 - 101
2013 - 145

7. Education

Since basic education is provided by the government, and there is much demand for further education, is there not a need for a Christian presence at the tertiary level?

Can we, as Church, perhaps design further education programmes that cater to ‘the last, lost, least and little’? There are many poor young people who still do not have the opportunity to engage in the New Economy.

8. Bumiputera - Majority Church

In 2010, about 65 per cent of Christians were bumiputera, 29.5 per cent Chinese, 4.8 per cent Indians, and 1.0 per cent Others.

The average annual population growth rate for bumiputeras is higher than for non bumiputeras. Hence, the Church will become even more bumiputera in future.

Is the Peninsular Church reaching out to this majority of Christians, especially to those from Sabah/Sarawak in our midst?

Are we using Bahasa Malaysia more? It is a common language that can bind Dayak, Kadazandusun and non-bumiputera Christians together. Are there efforts to learn the history, culture and socioeconomic backgrounds of Christian bumiputeras?

Or has the Church an aversion towards bumiputeraism, special rights for bumiputeras, and the use of BM?

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