Malaysia (MNN) — Malaysian politics went through turmoil last week as one prime minister stepped down and a new one was selected.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad resigned very suddenly last week and Muhyiddin Yassin, a Malay nationalist, was picked as a successor.
The move shifts Malaysia back to a position favoring the Malay majority, a group which has long held power in the country but lost in the 2018 elections. Many now worry Malay national politicians facing corruption charges will now have their cases dropped.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who resigned suddenly. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Lauren Libby of Trans World Radio says this conflict has been brewing for a very long time in Malaysia. “Basically, there are two centers of population, the Chinese center and the Malay center. And the Chinese center has too much of an investment in the country to allow it to become too unstable. So, as an outside observer, I would think it will be a short-term political situation.”
Impacts on Christians
But for Christians, the situation isn’t so simple. The law in Malaysia states that ethnic Malays have to be Muslim. Libby says, “It is actually illegal to witness or share about Jesus Christ with a Malay, you can actually go to jail. I know some people who have actually gone to jail because of missionary activity in Malaysia.”
And especially in view of the political outcome in Malaysia, this freedom is unlikely to come anytime soon.
Trans World Radio speaks into Malaysia, although they transmit from outside the country, and Libby says they avoid politics “because we serve a King that’s bigger than any prime minister or president or anything. So everything we do is centered on the kingdom of God and on Jesus Christ as being King.”
Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia. Trans World Radio transmits Christian programming from outside the country. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Libby says TWR reaches Malaysia through digital means, and that they have good engagement with people there. “Our goal is to equip people, believers, to be best friends with Jesus. And not only that, but to learn how to walk with Jesus daily. And how to share their faith in a natural way in a very hostile environment.”
Serving the one true King
Libby says politics are unlikely to change, and Malaysian Christians have to ask themselves a question: “how do you live a Christ-centered life in the middle of an environment where it’s illegal to propagate your faith? I have a number of friends that live in Kuala Lumpur and who are doing a tremendous job. We don’t talk about it because obviously, that would endanger people. But it’s interesting to see how Jesus uses people’s lives.”
Libby encourages Christians to pray for the stability of Malaysia and for the country to join the multitudes of other nations emphasizing religious freedom. “Because it really benefits a country. It benefits the economy, it benefits the people and it creates an open environment.”
Pray also that Christians in Malaysia would benefit from TWR’s programming and would grow in the image of Jesus.
Malaysian parliament building in Kuala Lumpur. (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)