Polls on Sunday – what’s your beef Bishop Tan
KUALA LUMPUR: Several quarters have questioned the motive and intention of Reverend Bishop Paul Tan to condemn the holding of the coming polls on a Sunday, on May 5.
The bishop, according to a news report, had stated that to fix the polls on May 5 was a reflection of the callous insensitivity towards Christians in the country.
“This disrespect of the government of the Christian rights is to be denounced. It just proves that the government is not sincere in its 1Malaysia slogan,” he was quoted as saying.
An MP pointed out that in the history of Malaysian general elections, voting had been held on a Sunday three times.
Previous elections in Malaysia held on Sunday were on August 3rd 1986 and 21st October 1990 as well as 21st March 2004.
A prominent blogger pointed out that even in a Christian majority nation abroad, polls were held on a Sunday, citing last week’s election in Venezuela as an example.
Wangsa Maju MP Wee Choo Keong when questioning Tan’s motive to condemn the Election Commission (EC) for fixing polling day on a Sunday pointed out in his blog that three of this country’s general elections have been held on Sundays and there were no complaints from citizens of various faiths about having to go out and vote on a Sunday.
“With due respect to Reverend Bishop Paul Tan, this is not the first time in our history that GEs (general elections) were held on a Sunday. Just for the record, there have been THREE previous GEs that were held on SUNDAY too,” Wee wrote.
“Just wonder, what has inspired a bishop of Reverend Paul Tan’s standing to make such sweeping statements when there were three previous GEs held on Sunday?” he further wrote.
In Christian countries, elections have been held on Sundays.
Venezuelans went to the polls to elect their new president on April 14, which fell on a Sunday.
The next day, Nicolas Marudo was announced as the country’s president, following the death former president Hugo Chavez on March 5 after a long battle with cancer.
Prominent blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan, popularly known as Rocky Bru, said in his blog that Tan intended to sound harsh when he criticised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for setting May 5 as polls day and looked ignorant for being unaware of the fact that the Venezuelans had voted on a Sunday.
“The Bishop intended to sound harsh. Unfortunately, he was also a little too hasty and, I’d hasten to add, pitifully ignorant. He was obviously not aware that Venezuela, where well over 95 per cent of the population adheres to Christianity had just gone to the polls to elect their new President – on a Sunday,” wrote Rocky.
Blogger Eddy Daud had criticised the bishop stating that the country has successfully and peacefully held three general elections on a Sunday with no complaints whatsoever.
He wrote: “Voting on Sunday 5 May 2013 will start at 8.00 am and end at 5.00 pm and you can have your mass in the morning which shouldn’t take that long, and after that plenty of time for your flock to go to vote what.”
“So what do you want really Bishop Tan, the polls to be on a Friday? Rest be assured that the very tolerant majority Malaysian Muslims would not complain as they will find time to vote before or after Friday prayers, tak de hal punya (no problem),” he further wrote.
Below is a list of several Christian-majority countries which have held their last elections on a Sunday:
1) Germany (September 22, 2013)
2) Mexico (July 1, 2012)
3) Belgium (June 13, 2010)
4) Croatia (December 4, 2011)
5) Argentina (October 23, 2011)
6) Brazil (October 3, 2010)
7) France (April 22, 2012)
8) Spain (November 20, 2011)
9) Sweden (September 19, 2010)
10) Greece (June 17, 2012)
11) Colombia (May 30, 2010)
12) Romania (December 9, 2012)
13) Cyprus (February 17, 2013)
14) Luxemborg (June 7, 2009)