CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 13 October 2018

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Malaysian bishops hail election results

PENANG (UCAN): Malaysia’s bishops have broken their collective silence following the May 9 election win by the Mahathir Mohamad-led opposition alliance, Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope), over the corruption-tainted government of Najib Razak, calling it a golden opportunity to set the nation on a new course.
 
The ousting of Najib spelled the end of a six-decade ruling coalition dominated by the United National Malays Organisation (UMNO).
 
The bishops thanked God for a relatively peaceful election and expressed gratitude for an electorate that had come of age. They called for people to continue to pray for Malaysia.
 
“To all the election commission officials, the polling and counting agents, the thousands of volunteers and responsible citizens assisting in the background, syabas (well done) for an almost incident-free election,” the May 16 statement of Malaysian Bishops’ Conference read.
 
“We have witnessed humility and the seeking of forgiveness for past mistakes,” the bishops stated.
 
“We have seen reconciliation offered and received; observed graciousness in defeat; and a love for peace and harmony for this country.”
 
The bishops called it chance to increasingly put into practice the values of the gospel.
 
“We must pray for healing and unity among all of us,” the Church leaders said, calling on Catholics nationwide to offer prayers and services to ensure the country’s peace is maintained.
 
It is yet to be seen whether the incoming government, initially to be headed by the 92-year-old Mahathir, will set out to stem overt Islamification. 
 
In recent decades, government rule and services in the multi-ethnic, religiously diverse but Muslim majority country has become increasingly tilted in favour of ethnic Malays who are overwhelmingly followers of Islam.
 
Mahathir, a former long-serving prime minister, is expected to later hand over the prime ministership to veteran politician, Anwar Ibrahim, following his release from prison. Anwar originally entered politics as an Islamic student leader.

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