Demolishment of Chapel dedicated to St Joseph, Saujana Impian

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 26th of August 2016

Demolishment of Chapel dedicated to St Joseph, Saujana Impian

I refer to the media statement of Ng Chok Sin, MCA Religious Harmony Bureau Deputy Chairman and MCA Selangor State Liaison Committee Secretary which was issued on the 24th of August, 2016.[1] In his statement, he levelled many unfounded and baseless accusations against Wan Azizah, PKR President and State Assembly representative for Kajang, against the Kajang Municipal Council (MPKj) and against DAP and PKR, for allowing the demolishment of a chapel structure dedicated to St Joseph in Saujana Impian, Kajang.

Ng Chok Sin’s statement was totally irresponsible and unbecoming of a political leader. If he had bothered to put in just a bit of effort to find out more about the situation, he would have easily found out that the local authorities as well as the state government had been discussing the matter with the Catholic church and the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) since the beginning of the year.

He would also have found out that the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Most Reverend Julian Leow, had issued a letter on the 19th of August, 2016 to the parishioners of the Holy Family Church in Kajang to explain why he agreed to allow the local authority, namely MPKJ, to demolish of what is now the remains of the chapel dedicated to St Joseph which was previously used by workers from the Brehma Estate, which no longer exists. (See Appendix 1 below) In this letter, the Archbishop also informed the parish priest, Father Surain, to cooperate and assist the local council, wherever possible, to ensure that no untoward incidents take place.

This letter was read out during all masses on the weekend of the 20th and 21st of August at the Holy Family Church in Kajang so as to ensure that the proper information was channelled to the parishioners.

In a letter dated on the 19th of August, 2016, to Selangor Exco member, Elizabeth Wong, Archbishop Julian Leow also confirmed that he had no objections to the local authority tearing down what remains of the chapel located along Jalan Saujana Impian, Kajang. He also thanked the Selangor Exco for “your kind concern and engaging in a dialogue on this sensitive issue and coming to an amicable solution on this matter”.  (See Appendix 2 below)

Because of the media coverage on this issue, which Ng Chok Sin is partly responsible for, Archbishop Julian had to issue another statement today to restate his position on the matter at hand. In this letter he appealed to the individuals who were preventing the demolition work by MPKj to “respect the lawful right of the council to carry out their duty and to remind everyone that the decision to demolish the unused chapel was made after due process was followed”. (See Appendix 3 below)

I call upon Ng Chok Sin to apologize to Wan Azizah, MPKj, PKR and DAP for his baseless and unfounded accusations. In addition, I call upon Ng Chok Sin to apologize to Archbishop Julian Leow for making it seem as if the Catholic church had been irresponsible in not taking part in the decision making process to decide the fate of the chapel. Now that the facts surrounding this matter are clear to the general public, as a responsible public figure, Ng should issue an unconditional apology to all the parties who have been aggrieved by his irresponsible statement.

Dr. Ong Kian Ming
Member of Parliament for Serdang

Appendix 1: Letter from the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to the parishioners of Holy Family Church, Kajang (the closet Catholic church to the St Joseph chapel)

Appendix 2: Letter from the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to YB Elizabeth Wong, Selangor EXCO

Appendix 3: Press Statement by the office of the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur on the 25th of August, 2016