Sarawak MP calls for action in carol fiasco

Desmond Davidson

Sarawak opposition leader Chong Chieng Jen (centre) says a non-action will be seen as the state government condoning TVS’ act. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 30, 2023.

CHONG Chieng Jen wants the state government to take action against the TVS personnel who did not to adhere to the request by the Association of Christian Churches in Sarawak (ACS) to replace a song in its Christmas programme.

The Sarawak opposition leader said the refusal to replace one carol at ACS’s December 3 “A Christmas Carol, Sarawak In Diversity” programme raises a serious issue about the threat to racial and religious harmony in the state.

The Stampin MP said a non-action will be seen as the state government condoning his act.

“Why would an officer under the Sarawak government’s agency hold such a religiously bigoted view, claiming a song can’t be sung in a Christmas carol programme because it contains religious elements when the programme itself is a religious event?” he said in a statement today.

Chong said be it a little “Napolean” or a high-rank officer who made the call, “that is a manifestation of religious bigotry and extremism”.

He said the Gabungan Parti Sarawak government “must act quickly to stop such elements from gaining grounds within the Sarawak government institutions”.

The carol “O Holy Night” was only reinstated after the intervention from Premier Abang Johari Openg and Deputy Premier Douglas Uggah.

Chong even shamed TVS when the broadcaster tried to put the blame on two federal agencies, the Film Censorship Board and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

“These two agencies had nothing to do with the TVS’ decision.”

Chong also commended the ACS, stating that if the leadership had been of lesser character, it might have given in to TVS’ ridiculous demands.

“It took great strength and strong faith for ACS to stand up against such bigotry.

“Especially when ACS on November 13 conveyed their objection to the Unit for Other Religion (Unifor) and for more than 10 days no response was given and the decision of TVS stood.

“It was only after the matter was widely reported that the premier and the deputy premier quickly intervened and reversed TVS’ decision.” – November 30, 2023.

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