A top academician has reminded Sarawakians and members of the various Christian denominations that they are the "saviour" of the BN government in Putrajaya.

"Without your support in Sarawak, the BN government in Peninsular Malaysia would have sunk to the bottom of the sea," said Jayum Jawan Empaling, professor of politics and government at Universiti Putra Malaysia.

Sarawak has 31 seats in Parliament, of which 25 of them are held by BN. DAP has five and PKR, one.

prayers united christians contribution to ge13"Sarawak has been described as BN's fixed deposit. To me, Sarawak is the saviour of BN in Semenanjung Malaysia not for first time, second time or third time, but the fourth time," Jayum Jawan said at a forum in Kuching yesterday, organised by the Association of Churches in Sarawak.

He said that Sabah and Sarawak first saved Malaya in 1963 when the two Borneo states agreed to form the federation of Malaysia along with Singapore.

"We came in not only as a balancing power, but also to enhance the Malay ‘supremacy' in the federation. If we did not come in, the federation of Malaya and Singapore would have an equal population of Malays and Chinese," Jayum Jawan said.

The second one was the 1969 general election, and without the support from Sarawak and Sabah, BN would have lost.

Similarly Sarawak saved Putrajaya at the 2008 and 2013 general elections, argued Jayum.

"It is up to you and members of the various churches whether to continue to support Barisan Nasional or not. You can determine who forms the next government," he said.

Multi-level marketing

Jayum Jawan, who hailed from a longhouse in Sibu, was yesterday delivering a talk on 'The role of church in nation-building' at the Christian Centre in Kuching.

Attended by some 2,000 church members from various Christian denominations and representatives from other faiths, the forum also featured two other speakers - constitutional lawyer Lim Heng Seng and Ng Kam Weng, an authority on theology and Christian history on the use of the word ‘Allah' to refer to God.

NONEJayum Jawan said church members are also taxpayers and voters, and they have the right to exercise their democratic rights.

"We can use a multi-level (marketing) system in politics by bringing in your spouses, brothers, sisters, parents, in-laws, relatives and other church members and their friends to vote against the BN government if you think it is not looking after our interests.
"And we can vote for another party that is sensitive to our views," he said, adding that Malaysia was fortunate that it now has a two-party system, thus giving voters an electoral choice.

"Democracy is about choosing our representatives to Parliament or to the state assemblies. When we choose that person, that person must represent your interest. He must do what we want him to do in Parliament.

"He must listen to us, not we listen to him because we are the ones who put them where they are. But if they don't listen to us, then bring them down."

We've only ourselves to blame

Jayum Jawan stressed that there is no need to wait for the next election and action can be taken now.

"Voting them out is one of them. In the meantime, we can petition them to be removed, or ask them to step down if they don't listen to us. This is a signal we must give them.

"We used to treat our elected representatives like little gods, giving them red-carpet welcome with 'gendang', music, food and drinks," said Jayum  Jawan, pointing out that Malaysians must change their mindset.

"Once they are elected or become ministers, they forget about us. They forget that we are the source of their political power, and they forget that we are the ones who put them where they are.

"Now I want to ask you a question: Do we blame the BN government for not looking after our interest? I don't think so.

"We also cannot blame (Sarawak Chief Minister) Abdul Taib Mahmud or (Land Development Minister) James Masing or (Social Development Minister) William Mawan, but blame ourselves.

"It was you who put them there. You have done a great disservice to yourself," he said.

Pointing out that the country was facing many challenges, Jayum Jawan called on church members to rise and join other Malaysians to meet those challenges.

"We have to respond to our environment," he said in obvious reference to the government's ban on the use of the word ‘Allah' by Christians in their Bahasa Malaysia publications.

NONELast month, the appeals court ruled in favour of the government that the term ‘Allah' must be exclusive to Islam.

While PM Najib Razak said the ruling only applied to Catholic weekly The Herald, lawyers argued it affects all Christians in Malaysia, especially bumiputera Christians in Sabah and Sarawak who use Bahasa Malaysia in carrying out their religious activities.

~ Malaysiakini