The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia has written a Pastoral Letter to the People of God on 24 April, 2018.
MAKE YOUR VOTE COUNT FOR THE COMMON GOOD OF OUR NATION
“All citizens should be mindful of the right and also the duty to use their vote freely to further the common good.” (Gaudium et spes – Church in the Modern World, n.75).
Dear People of God,
The upcoming 14th General Election presents us, once again, with an opportunity to participate and exercise our democratic right to vote and choose our leaders. Every General Election rekindles in each of us expectations, aspirations and a desire to help shape our nation not just for us but also for the generations to come.
The Church calls on her members to exercise conscientiously the right and duty to vote for the common good of all. Therefore, as Christians, we have a civic and moral duty to engage and participate in the democratic processes of our beloved country.
As responsible stewards, there is no room for attitudes of indifference or apathy towards the good governance of our country. Every vote helps set the direction of our country and society for the next five years and it is only proper that we ask for divine assistance and guidance in our choices in order to allow our nation to flourish and continue to prosper.
Every registered voter must ‘turn up and vote’ because it is here that we exercise our responsibility and, once again, stake our claim in securing the future of our country by choosing our leaders. We need to choose leaders who truly care for all the ‘rakyat’, promote justice and equality, stand up for principles with integrity and work for the common good of citizens and strive to build a cohesive, harmonious and prosperous nation.
Every election is also an opportunity for self-appraisal not only as a nation but more importantly for us as citizens of this country. Therefore, as citizens, we ought to desire the best possible political leaders who are free of corruption so as to help us achieve the common good, and we have a responsibility to participate in the political process by voting.
We must cast our vote through prayerful consideration and in accordance with our conscience formed by the Catholic faith.
We, as Catholic citizens, must inform and form our consciences in accordance with the principles of Catholic social teaching. The first and most essential principle of our social teaching is the dignity of every human person and each one’s basic right to life from conception to natural death.
Respect for human dignity is the basis for the fundamental right to life. This is a non-negotiable principle that is supported by our beliefs. Many non-Catholics, too, think a society dedicated to the common good should protect its weakest members.
Other principles include the call to community and participation, the centrality of the family, the dignity of work and rights of workers, the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity and the commitment to stewardship of the environment.
What can I do?
- Exercise my moral duty to vote according to my conscience.
- Encourage my family and friends to also vote.
- Educate myself on issues at hand and be informed of the track record of all candidates and political parties.
- Ensure free and fair elections; volunteer to be a Polling and/or Counting Agent.
- Extend a helping hand — provide transportation to the polling station and whatever assistance needed for the differently abled and other needful individuals, to ensure they have the opportunity to exercise their votes.
- Pray for a peaceful and clean election.
- Observe the Day of Prayer and Fasting for the GE14 as declared by the Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia on the date/time as specified by your respective dioceses and parishes.
- Respond to and participate in the Call to Prayer being observed by our Christian brothers and sisters of the denominational churches:
- NECF Malaysia: A Call for 21.21.21. Time of Prayer and Fasting for the Church and our Beloved Nation (www.necf.org.my/newsmaster.cfm?&menuid=43&action=view&retrieveid=1675)
- Pray without ceasing throughout this Election period.
- Pray that all candidates/political parties/leaders will respect the outcome of the GE14.
May the Holy Spirit, grant us the wisdom and fortitude we need in choosing those who will represent and lead us in our national and state governments. Therefore, we urge you, stand up, uphold the common good of our nation, choose wisely, and your vote will be a blessing for our nation.
We place our country unto the hands of Mother Mary to always guide, protect and bring us abundant graces.
May God bless you all and our country, Malaysia.
Yours devotedly in Christ,
+ Most Reverend Julian Leow, Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, 24 April, 2018
Click to Download the Pastoral Letter