Malayan Christian Council telah mengemukakan permintaan yang kepada Suruhanjaya Reid yang merangka Perlembagaan Persekutuan supaya Malaya dijadikan sebuah negara sekular, supaya Islam tidak diletakkan sebagai agama persekutuan dan supaya orang Melayu diberikan kebebasan beragama dan dasar-dasar menyekat kegiatan dakwah Kristian diketepikan.
Skan di bawah ialah kertas sulit yang “declassified” (dibuka untuk rujukan umum) yang diperolehi dari Pejabat Rekod Awam di Kew, London.
Anda bacalah sendiri.
Perkembangan semasa membayangkan bahawa tuntutan-tuntutan yang dibuat gereja pada tahun 1956 kepada British sedang dihidupkan kembali.
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CONFIDENTIAL C.C. 2067
MALAYAN CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
Summary Record of Hearing
held in the Conference Room at 11 a.m.
on Thursday, 23rd August, 1956
Sir William McKell
Mr. Chief Justice Malik
Mr. Justice Abdul Hamid
Sir Ivor Jennings
Mr. E. C. Laird (Secretary)
Dr. Ho Seng Ong, Chairman of the Council, Director of Methodist Education Board;
Archdeacon R. W. Woods, acting for Bishop H. W. Baines as Head of Anglican Church in Malaya;
Rev. R. L. Archer, Bishop Emeritus of Methodist Church of Malaya;
Rev. Roland Koh, Acting Vicar, St. Mary’s Church, Kuala Lumpar;
Rev. P. C. John, Minister of Mar-Thoma Church, North and Central
Rev. J. Sutton, Associate General Secretary, Malayan Christian Council.
The Chairman welcomed the Delegation, congratulated them on the clarity of their memorandum and asked if they had anything further to add.
Dr. Ho Seng Ong appreciated the opportunity of meeting the Commission and said that the main concern of the Council was that they should retain in the future all the rights and privileges they now held. The Chairman said he understood these to include complete freedom of thought and expression, freedom to held religious services, the right to obtain land and property for the Churches, etc. He was not, however, fully aware of the views of the Council on the future of the Church schools. Dr. Ho said that the State gave a very generous grant to Church Schools and that the Council endorsed and supported the Government’s recently announced education policy. They fully recognised that the question of Government grants must be determined in the light of future policy. As a secondary point, he considered that a clause should be written into the new constitution to ensure that there were no limitations regarding religious freedom and to enable the present field of religious freedom to be enlarged. Bishop Archer stated that, at the moment, the Churches were not free to preach to the Malays and, in particular, to the aborigines.
Mr. Hamid asked if there were any laws which prevented the Churches proselytizing. Dr. Ho replied that, as far as the schools were concerned, there were definite restrictions under the School Code with regard to Muslims. There was a law which prevented a Muslim child from attending religious services of other denominations, even if the boy or the parents wished it.
Archdeacon Woods referred to the Treaty of Pangkor, 1876, in which it was laid down that the Ruler should act upon the advice of the British Adviser except on matters concerning the religion and customs of his people. There was no law prohibiting the Christian Churches proselytizing the Malays, bat to try to interest a Malay in Christianity was considered an affront to local Muslims. Policy in the matter had hardened over the years and nobody was prepared to consider suggesting a change. The Chairman said that all that could be written into the new constitution was some safeguard to prevent discriminatory action being taken against the Churches or the Malays.
Mr. Sutton then emphasised once again that they were very concerned over the question of freedom for all people to choose their religion. It was a fundamental and important right. In the constitution of Pakistan there was no law to prevent a Muslim changing his religion, and they wished to see the same religious freedom in Malaya. The Chairman said that the Commission could certainly consider the legal aspects of this question.
Dr. Ho then referred to the implications of the request of some people that the Muslim religion should be the new State religion. He suggested that it would be proper in a community of so many different races if the new independent State were to be a secular one giving no particular favours or privileges to any one religion, as in the case of India. Mr. Hamid said that such a provision by itself would not prevent the legislative body enacting any law on the subject it saw fit to introduce. Archdeacon Woods said that in the case of Pakistan where Islam was the State religion 85% of the population were Muslim. In the case of Malaya only 48% were Muslim, and a provision in the constitution making Muslim the State religion would operate to the detriment of a majority of the people of the country. Mr. Hamid asked whether the fact that such a provision was present in the State Constitutions had done any harm or created any obstacles. Mr. Woods emphasised that in the case of countries where the population was predominantly Muslim, it was a different matter, but this was not the case in Malaya. The Chairman pointed out, however, that in many of the States in the Federation the population was predominantly Muslim, and that, up to date, religion had always been a State subject. Did they wish all reference to the Muslim religion to be written out of the State constitutions? Archdeacon Woods replied that they were only thinking of the future constitution of the Federation.
Sir Ivor Jennings mentioned that there were two matters in this connection to which he wished to refer. First, each of the States and Malacca had a Religious Department paid for out of State funds, and second, the States collected Zakat through those departments. He asked if the Christian Council objected to this. Mr. Archer replied that they had no objection to the collection of Zakat, but emphasised that they considered it would be most undesirable if the new constitution had a clause in it which recognised Islam as the religion of the Federation.
In answer to a question by Mr. Hamid as to whether the law in the States had harmed other people, Dr. Ho replied that in certain States regulations had been passed with regard to the sale of food which discriminated against the non-Muslims. Mr. Hamid said that this kind of thing could not be prevented; such action depended on local legislation and therefore it made no difference what the State religion was.
Mr. Woods suggested that the ambiguity of past treaties had militated against the freedom of the non-Muslim religions. For example, the Anglican Church had experienced difficulty in obtaining land for the purpose of building Churches. Mr. Hamill thought that questions of this nature could not be dealt with in the new constitution.
Dr. Ho stated that they did not want to give the impression that the Federal Government had not been generous and fair to the Christian Churches, but they considered that the Malays derived unjust advantages. He thought the writing of a new constitution was a splendid opportunity of improving the situation and ensuring harmony in the future.
The Chairman said that, as he understood it, what the Council wanted was a written guarantee of religious freedom for all and a declaration that the new Federation was a secular State. The representatives of the Council agreed that this was so.
The Chairman concluded by saying that the Commission appreciated the points raised and that they would avoid practical difficulties as far as possible when drawing up their recommendations for the form of the future Federation and State Constitutions.
Malayan Christian Council hari ini memakai nama Council of Churches of Malaysia.
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