ACS to participate in TVS’ Christmas carol programme following Abg Jo, Uggah’s intervention


Rt Revd Datuk Danald Jute

KUCHING (Nov 29): The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) has confirmed that its members will join TVS’ Christmas carol programme on Dec 3 after initially declining the invitation.

ACS chairman the Rt Rev Datuk Danald Jute revealed this followed the intervention of Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Premier Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas.

He said organisers of ‘A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity’ agreed to have the carol ‘O Holy Night’ because “YAB Premier has directed it to be included in”.

“Both (Abang Johari and Uggah) are keen for the programme to proceed and to include ‘O Holy Night’. We deeply appreciate and honour their support,” he said in a hard-hitting statement.

He clarified there was no miscommunication involved in ACS’ initial decision to reject joining the programme.

He stressed that ACS “will not allow the public to be misled or deceived by misinformation”.

“Hence, we feel compelled to respond to certain aspects of TVS’s recent press statement, which clearly was a prevarication, an effort to do damage control! They claimed that ‘a miscommunication has transpired among the parties involved in the programme’. This is deceptive and mischievous.

“The ACS as one of the parties involved in the programme categorically deny that there ever was any ‘miscommunication’ on our part. If ever there was any ‘miscommunication’ as alleged by TVS, the ACS was never a party to it,” he said.

Danald stressed ACS submitted its request for ‘O Holy Night’ to be included and TVS “rejected it outright”.

“No miscommunication! It is quite laughable that TVS should now claim that they have ‘no intention of excluding the said song from the programme’,” he said.

He pointed out ACS’ earlier decision to withdraw was not made lightly, reiterating that Christmas is a Christian religious festival.

“Christmas is about Christ, whose birth we celebrate and retell. There is no Christmas without Christ. Hence our suggestion to replace ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ with the more appropriate ‘O Holy Night’, which speaks about the birth of Christ.

“TVS’s outright rejection of our suggestion on the grounds of ‘religious elements’ is utterly ludicrous. Such an unbelievable reason made us feel slighted and discriminated against. And as though that wasn’t hurting enough, TVS went on to have ACS believe that it was also ‘due to the protocol from LPF (Lembaga Penapisan Filem) and MCMC’ (Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission)’,” he said.

Danald went on to thank Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil for his public clarification that the programme did not come under MCMC’s purview.

“As Chairman, I will not let the Church be unjustly bullied or intimidated. We believe we are all equal and have the same rights as Malaysians. More so here in Sarawak, where we take pride in celebrating our cultural, ethnic, and religious differences together. We are committed to doing our part to safeguard our harmonious relationships.

“As we have made clear all along, we believe in a better Sarawak and a better Malaysia. We will do everything we can for a more harmonious, peaceful, tolerant, and just Malaysia. We call upon everyone to support all efforts, activities, and programmes that will contribute towards building greater unity and understanding amongst all people, irrespective of racial, cultural, or religious backgrounds.

“We are against any form of discrimination and marginalisation. We call upon the government, both state and federal, to send out a clear signal that all are equal and ought to be respected. No government officers or agencies should make any arbitrary decision, which will jeopardise our unity and understanding,” he added.

‘A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity’ seeks to set a national record for the most carollers.

Endorsed by the Unit for Other Religions (Unifor), the programme will be held at Padang Merdeka.