PUTRAJAYA: The Government will introduce several measures to address concerns raised by the Christian community.
These include the appointment of heads of mission schools, teaching of Bible Knowledge and tax exemption status for Christian organisations.
The decision made by the Cabinet yesterday was announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at a luncheon hosted for senior leaders of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM).
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon said the Education Ministry would engage and consult the respective school boards so that school heads appointed would be suitable and acceptable.
Cordial meeting: Najib and Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin with Christian leaders (from left) Bolly, Murphy, Ng, CFM vice-chairman Rev Dr Eu Hong Seng and Tsen before the luncheon at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya yesterday. Najib spent nearly two hours with the leaders who were also joined by 13 Cabinet ministers.
On Bible Knowledge for Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, Dr Koh said the subject would be taught in schools after school hours upon parents' request.
A procedure would also be put in place to ensure donations to churches recognised and certified by CFM would be given tax exemption.
“The Prime Minister gave due recognition to the tremendous contributions of mission schools and their wish that the ethos and traditions of such schools be maintained.
“The Prime Minister also reiterated the support given by the Government to mission schools with a total of RM240mil allocated over the past four years, including RM100mil under the 2012 Budget,” Dr Koh said.
Among those who attended the luncheon was CFM luncheon chairman Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing, Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lum-pur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam, Catholic Archbishop of Kuching John Ha, Council of Churches of Malaysia president Datuk Thomas Tsen and president of the Association of Churches of Sarawak Datuk Bolly Lapok.
Ng thanked Najib for the opportunity to have an open and constructive dialogue.
“Christians have been experiencing a roller coaster year since 2010 that has been fraught with both blessings and painful encounters.
“We Christians would like to work with the Government for the sake of our beloved Malaysia,'' he said.