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In Sarawak, unhappiness over Christmas event’s snub of ‘O Holy Night’
Published on: Friday, November 24, 2023
By: FMT
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In Sarawak, unhappiness over Christmas event’s snub of ‘O Holy Night’
Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan has urged Christians in Sarawak to boycott the event.
PETALING JAYA: Organisers of a Christmas event in Sarawak backed by the Premier’s Department have come under criticism over its refusal to allow the carol “O Holy Night” to be sung in place of “Jingle Bell Rock”.

The request had been made by the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) which said “Jingle Bell Rock” has nothing to do with Christmas, which celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ.

The organiser of the event, TVS, a state-owned television station, said it could not accede to the request as “O Holy Night” contained religious elements. It said this was in line with the protocols of the Film Censorship Board (LPF) as well as the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

ACS has since said it would not take part in the “A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity” event on Dec 3, which is expected to be attended by Sarawak premier Abang Johari Openg.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang president Voon Lee Shan said the organiser’s actions were a “grave insult” to the over one million Christians represented by the ACS.

“If the organisers think that the song ‘O Holy Night’ has ‘religious elements’, then there was no reason to invite ACS in the first place because ACS is a religious body.

“The organisers had failed to understand that although Islam is the official religion in the federation, there is freedom of worship under the Federal Constitution for other religions in the country,” he said in a statement.

Voon said ACS’s decision to reject the invitation to take part in the event was the right move as it would set a “bad precedent” by taking part, as the rejection of its request to change the song was “discriminatory” against Christians.

“Christians in Sarawak are urged to stand firm behind ACS to boycott the programme,” he said.

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