25 MARCH 2016
In my Easter message last year, I wrote about the severe problems and challenges this country was experiencing and encouraged everyone to not lose hope, but to act on our hopes by being involved in different ways to bring about an improvement to our society and our country. Since then, the situation has worsened in every aspect. Huge price increases, a worsening currency and economy, political repression and intimidation, suppression of the press and public speech, corruption scandals, embarrassing international scrutiny, and the list goes on. One cannot be blamed for thinking that this is a Godforsaken country for which there is no hope. Many people are leaving this country in search of better lives elsewhere. In fact, it was revealed in Parliament a few days ago that an average of 35.5 Malaysians renounce their citizenship every day.
This Easter my message is to hold on fast to hope. The Christian faith is anchored on the hope and salvation that Jesus gave man when he died on the cross to atone for our sins and then arising on the third day. The theological understanding is that Jesus conquered death and sin, the power of darkness that had suppressed man. In the Garden of Eden, God said that Jesus would crush the serpent’s head but in doing so, the serpent would bruise his heel. In crushing the devil, Jesus had to die, but it was not a permanent death for he rose again, hence the ‘bruise’.
Spiritually, it helps us to focus on this aspect of our Christian faith when we contemplate the worsening situation we are in today. We must never give in to despair, but to continue to pray for a transformation of this country. Perhaps God is answering our prayers in the unexpected collusion of diverse people in the recent Citizens’ Declaration; perhaps not, but keep in mind that God has said ‘For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’. [Jeremiah 29:11].
The years of hardship may seem long and many ask how much longer we will have to put up with what is going on in this country before there is a change. It is not for us to know the times and dates that God has set for us but with faithful hearts, we must continue to pray and do our part to bring about the change we so desperately need. As we pray for a better leadership in this country, keep in mind that God ‘changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises others up. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning’. [Daniel 2:21].
The ruling political leaders in this country may think they have the upper hand and continue to engage in dubious practices with impunity, but history has proven that corrupt political parties that rule without the mandate of the people eventually fail, no matter how strong they appear to be at their peak. We only need to look at the countries around us to be encouraged. Burma and Indonesia, which were arguably in worse situations than we are in, are progressing rapidly with their reforms and expanding democratic space. Change will happen for us as well. Let us pray that at the upcoming Sarawak Elections, the right people will be elected so that our hopes will be realized, that we will see the politics of hope vanquish the politics of fear, corruption and oppression.
To all Christians, a blessed Easter.
ADUN N81 Ba’ Kelalan / Chairman, PKR Sarawak