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Saturday, October 27, 2018

A VISIT TO THE PARLIAMENT

Reported by: DaliusLL
Photos by: Leonard S

Sandakan: Five members of St. Mary Cathedral Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) had the privilege to visit the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur on 17th October 2018. The PPC was led by their Vice Chairman, and later on, joining another five members from the Sandakan Inter-church members to make up a 10 Sandakan Christian delegation to the Malaysian Parliament. All of us were a first-time visitor to the Parliament where the Rakyat’s voice is heard and Laws are made.
Parish Pastoral Council Members of St. Mary's Cathedral, Sandakan
Members from Sandakan Christian Inter-Church

The study Tour was made possible by the invitation of the Law’s Minister, YB Datuk VK Liew and the kind sponsorship from Dato Seri Joshua Chong, a corporate figure from Kuala Lumpur. The objective of the tour was mainly educational visit and to gain first-hand experience of the Federal law-making process. We were hosted by the officials from the Batu Sapi Parliamentary with briefings and guided tour of the many galleries in the parliament building. The most profound experience was the opportunity to sit in the two different sections of the public gallery inside the Dewan Rakyat. We could see the chamber where the Members of Parliament (MP) had their debates and discussions. At that particular visit, we witnessed the debate on the Sales and Service Tax (SST) issue. The debate was hot, but with a friendly atmosphere. The proceedings were very captivating until we did not realise that we had way past our allotted time and was asked to vacate our seats due to the many visitors that day.
Sandakan Christian Church Leaders
Taking photos with Members of Parliament from Sandakan

During the Study Tour, we managed to meet a few of the Lawmakers from Sandakan and even managed to shake hands with the incoming eight designated Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Anwar Ibrahim. Our intention to have a courtesy call to the Law Minister in his office in the Parliament building was not realised because of the many appointments he had to attend to but nevertheless, Datuk VK Liew, the Law Minister, was kind enough to accommodate us by including us in joining him and his staff for a dinner function that evening. We had a wonderfully relaxing atmosphere with him whereby we also had the opportunity to discuss and exchange our views on the issue of abolishing the death penalty in Malaysia. At the same time, our Christian leaders took the opportunity to bring up on their Church needs to the attention of Datuk V. K. Liew to consider.
Discussion with Datuk V. K. Liew

When asked about what have we learnt on the Study Trip, Michael Lai our PPC Vice Chairman shared, “ Indeed, it was a memorable time that our Risen Lord has given to us to witness the parliament proceeding. Likewise, the fellowship that we, from different denominations, had has no doubt bound us closer to one another and to our Lord”. As for Rev. Khoo Keng Shiang from the Baptist Church, he was impressed by the openness of the Malaysian parliament, which is accessible for the public to visit. The Study Trip has gained him much knowledge and invaluable experience on how the process of Law is made in Malaysia. He hoped that in the near future, a similar tour can be organised for other Church leaders to gain this invaluable visit.

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