Is church money the rocket fuel for Pakatan Harapan?

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Azmin Ali, who is chairman of Pakatan Harapan in Selangor, today announced the coalition’s exco line-up.

From the DAP component, parliamentarian Tony Pua (pix below) was appointed one of the four deputy chairmen, with Selangor Madame Speaker Hannah Yeoh appointed as treasurer.

The duo, together with parliamentarian Gobind Singh who is made legal bureau chairman, comprise DAP’s total three reps in the 12-member Harapan exco.

To what will Harapan treasurer allocate funding?

Commenting on the news above, political scientist Dr Kamarul Zaman Yusuff appraised that the treasurer’s post would have gone either to the political party with the biggest financial resources or to the individual deemed most capable of sourcing a lot of funding.

Another common assumption is that such a treasurer will have great power and influence as she controls the money inflow and outflow, wrote Dr Kamarul in his Facebook.

Dr Kamarul, who is director of the Malaysian Institute of Political Analysis (Mapan), finds it interesting that the position of Pakatan Harapan treasurer – both at federal and state level – has gone to DAP.

Ipoh Barat member of parliament M. Kulasegaran is the Pakatan Harapan national treasurer.

It is logical to conclude that these appointments indicate the great power and influence that Kula and Hannah are or will be wielding, Dr Kamarul added.

Given these circumstances, Dr Kamarul wondered aloud from where the Harapan national and Selangor treasurers respectively are going to acquire their political war chest.

⇓  On a separate note, donations abound for ‘Kingdom Christian’ (in its metaphorical sense) outside the realm of Malaysian politics

The money will come rolling, if God wills

In the case of Hannah Yeoh, Dr Kamarul is also curious as to whether the Adun for Subang Jaya (the constituency is everywhere dotted by churches) is expecting to be blessed by another act of God.

It was only through God’s grace, Hannah staunchly believes, that she managed to fill her campaign coffers to the brim, and thus enabling her to plunge into the 2008 general election.

When Hannah Yeoh first contested the Subang Jaya seat almost 10 years ago, she was “nearly flat broke” after spending on her wedding and honeymoon, and what more with house rent and car loan to pay.

The lay pastor wrote in her memoir Becoming Hannah, “I had no idea how we were going to pull off a campaign, but I knew that I had to go ahead in obedience to God” (page 44).

“As for campaign finances, we would fork it out of our own pockets first in the belief that if running in this election was really the right thing to do, and we knew it was, the money would come.” (page 45)

⇓  Hannah talking politics at Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC)

Tapping the extensive church network

As providence would have it, financial aid was soon on the way for Hannah Yeoh from God’s righteous army.

A Christian businessman let Hannah have the use of his SS14 first floor shoplot for free. The premises became her campaign headquarters, and later following her election victory, turned into the DAP Subang Jaya service centre.

Church friends formed battalions of volunteers, putting in hours and hours of physical work for the righteous cause of electing Hannah to the Selangor state assembly.

In a short period of time too, Hannah successfully raised RM124,000 from public donations. Of that sum, RM35,000 was given by two church elders.

The strong support that came pouring was a sign to Hannah that she “was doing the will of God”.

Hannah the Lamb of God styled herself in GE12 as “a Christian candidate” − one who “understood politics as one of the many ways the Bible teaches us to uphold righteousness and good governance”.

⇓  ‘Hope’ or harapan is a keyword of the Christian ministry

Rejecting separation of church and state

Hannah is DAP’s most prominent purveyor of political Christianity. She truly believes “God wants to reclaim politics and public service in Malaysia for righteousness’ sake”.

Her God is firmly in the field of politics.

“I may have been a Christian candidate, but it did not mean all Christians were overjoyed that a fellow believer was standing for elections,” wrote Hannah in her memoir (page 51).

To her doubters, she asked: “Can they not see politics as nation building or as a [Christian] ministry as well?”

Hannah’s famous self-description is as someone who “lives for God”. In page 89 of her autobiography, Hannah modestly declared: “I do not measure my self-worth as a politician by votes or by how popular I am with constituents. I measure my self-worth by the fact that I am a child of God”.

The political involvement of God’s child is viewed by Hannah herself as a leader destined to shepherd the flock because “Malaysian Christians had to shed their fears and make a stand for their country”.

It is well known that Hannah’s true longing was to be a preacher. This is something she has repeated publicly many times.

Nonetheless, the part-time pastor justifies her eventual career path with the excuse, “But had I not obeyed God’s call [to enter politics], I would not have had the opportunity to preach at churches, to world leaders and to young people, like I am able to do now. God knew the desire of my heart to preach and serve Him. And He made it happen through my political office” (page 110).

In her own words, Hannah’s political office has since provided the golden opportunity for her to preach impressionable young people.

According to Hannah, church and politics are not separate. Instead she views this supposed division as a “false dichotomy”.

It is a “self-contradiction in thinking”, asserts Hannah, “separating politics as a ‘secular’ field and not one where ‘ministry’ can be conducted”.

Christian money bringing hope to the persecuted

So that it is clear to all, the definition of ‘ministry’ in the Christian context is “service to God and to other people in His name”. Evangelism is a ministry where the goal of the evangelist/’minister’ is to be the instrument of God.

Hannah Yeoh is an evangelist.

Recalling her appearance at a PKR ceramah in SS19 one night during the 2008 election campaign, Hannah “felt the presence of God right there at that moment, with goosebumps, on that stage, standing in front of the Malaysian flag”.

In page 63 of Becoming Hannah, the author wrote:

“With the Malaysian flag behind me and […] the present mass of people before me, I understood, what Mordecai meant when he told his niece, Esther, a Jewish queen in the Persian court, that she had been born for such a time as she was in to free her people from persecution”.

Heaven forfend! Hannah Yeoh sees in her illustrious self shades of the biblical heroine Esther, exalted by God to free her people from persecution.

This is the evangelical Christian woman who is now treasurer of Pakatan Harapan for Selangor, the country’s richest state.

How will she be using all the money at her disposal?

Should the bulk of the Harapan funds have been raised from Christian vested interests, then it could well be a shadow darkening across Article 3 of the federal constitution.

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