Monday, November 22, 2021

Centre for the Constitution & Citizenship (CCC)

If I lived long enough (perhaps until I am 80 years old) I would like to set up a Centre for the Study and Promotion of the Constitution and Citizenship in Sabah. This idea has been in my mind for more than 4 years so much so I taught in 2017 and 2018 the Federal Constitution of Malaysia to my students at the Bible College in Ranau. When I read reviews of Victor Davis Hanson's "Dying Citizen" last night, it confirmed in my mind that this is a great and urgent need of our country. So few people know our basic and foundational document of nationhood, the Federal Constitution.

Some politicians claim that they know this important document but at most only superficially. Malaysia's Federal Constitution is especially significant because within it, almost all important areas of law, government, rights and responsibilities of citizenship are laid out. I would like to gather like-minded lawyers and Christian leaders with civic-consciousness and esteem for our Constitution to be part of this Centre. It will hold quarterly talks and perhaps have a centre or room to house materials, books and resources for the study and promotion of the Constitution and the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. 

Hanson's book is especially telling. In his book, he talks about unless one esteems his citizenship higher than his tribe or race, he/she will fall into tribalism or racism - "appoint my first cousin" instead of "the most qualified person for the job or position". Hanson also makes the argument that citizens need to be materially independent (middle class) and not be reliant on government handouts or subsidy so that they are able to speak forth or defend their liberties and freedoms. This material sufficiency is important as even in my current situation where I have to resign for speaking out, for making a stand on a number of issues. If I were subservient to my tribal associations ("church group") or be dependent on the government, there is no way I could speak forth and be a witness for Jesus Christ. Like the prophet Amos who was accused for plying his trade or earning a living as a prophet, but Amos replied, "I was no prophet or a prophet' son. I was a herdsman and planter of sycamore trees." Amos was financially independent. He had a career before God called him to be a prophet. He did not speak for God's Word for monetary gain or to please the establishment. He was a true mouthpiece of God.

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