Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia


Brothers and Sisters,

The theme for this year’s 61stMerdeka Day and 55thMalaysia Day celebration “Sayangi Malaysiaku” resonates most deeply with the beating heart of every Malaysian. It also marks a maturity of sorts for our Nation which had witnessed an unprecedented electoral tsunami and most importantly a peaceful transfer of power that took place on 9 May 2018.

We offer praise and thanks to God for blessing our beloved country with renewed hope. However, the work of Nation rebuilding is not only for politicians but also for every citizen.

Our role in nation-building

Our moral duty did not end at the ballot box. In fact, it was just the beginning. Much work is now needed to put our Nation back on the path of national togetherness, where good governance, fairnessand justicemust no longer be mere slogans but become facts of everyday life. This is only possible if we as faithful and responsible citizens assume the responsibility of fostering this spirit of unity, trust, fairness and accountability in our own daily lives.

We must find our strength of action from our faith where civility and mutual respect are deeply entrenched in scripture, in our prayers and in the example of our Saints. It is upon this bedrock of faith that we must manifest our care for each other irrespective of creed or colour and for the vulnerable, the discriminated and the marginalised in society.

Every choice that we make, must take us ever closer and in favour of the common good and preserving Malaysia in all its colour, its worship, its diversity and in its uniqueness. For if we are to regard Malaysia as our shared home, we must learn to appreciate each other and learn from one another. We ought to avoid choices that only serve narrow and personal aims that are ultimately destructive to our spiritually, to our social fabric, race relations and our environment:

“For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful one.”Proverbs 2:6-8

Redefining Nationalism

Nationalism isn’t about aligning oneself to the dominant narrative of the day. It is never about tyranny of a majority against a minority. It is never the misappropriation of National resources to the exclusion of others.

Perhaps we ought to return to the words of our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, in the Proclamation of Independence where he said that our Nation:

“shall be for ever a sovereign democratic and independent State founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of its people and the maintenance of a just peace among all nations”.

It is perhaps timely that we reflect, advocate and act upon these founding principles of Nationhood that in time, may break the narrow and selfish Nationalism indoctrinated upon us in the past.

Build Bridges

Malaysia’s progress as a Nation must include the cultivation of essential values which are integral to the harmony and unity of its people. This translates to building strong bonds of understanding and unity among the various races and religions. Thus ensuring that fair-play and care for all people form the cornerstone of our society.

We are Malaysia. The friendships we build across our social boundaries, across our comfort zones and across racial and religious divides are what makes Malaysia the nation that it is. With God as our loving guide, may our love for our neighbour increase and may we continue to celebrate the diversity of this country – a place we belong to each other. Malaysia needs every one of us to build on the good works of the past. Brick by loving brick we must ensure a just society, a bulwark against any future storm.

Let us recapture and retain the innocence of that first muhibbah spirit and the feeling of pride for our Nation – the same togetherness and pride our forefathers felt hearing the proclamation of “Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!

Today, let us as one united Malaysia, proudly declare that we ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’.


Devotedly in Christ,

Most Reverend Julian Leow Beng Kim, D.D,

Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur

President, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia

on behalf of:

Most Reverend Simon Poh, Archbishop of Kuching

Most Reverend John Wong, Archbishop of Kota Kinabalu

Rt Reverend Sebastian Francis, Bishop of Penang

Rt Reverend Bernard Paul, Bishop of Malacca-Johore

Rt Reverend Datuk Cornelius Piong, Bishop of Keningau

Rt Reverend Datuk Julius Dusin Gitom, Bishop of Sandakan

Rt Reverend Richard Ng, Bishop of Miri

Rt Reverend Joseph Hii, Bishop of Sibu