We are one with the nation, says Catholic church

PUTRAJAYA: The Catholic church's contribution to Tabung Harapan should be seen as a gesture that the community is one with the nation in times of need.

Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Julian Leow said the contribution is an important initiative by the Catholic church to pay a portion of the country's debts of RM1 trillion.

"We are all Malaysians and we are part of the nation. So we felt that the church can also play its part and support the country when in need," he told theSun when attending the Hari Raya open house hosted by the Cabinet Ministers at Seri Perdana on Friday.

"The collections (for Tabung Harapan) showed that we are in solidarity with our country and we do our little bit to help Malaysia recover quicker."

Leow was responding to questions and concerns raised by some Catholics on why the donations meant for the poor and needy is given to pay the country's debts.

The Finance Ministry announced that the Tabung Harapan Malaysia fund is reaching almost RM75 million with a total of RM74,589,516.77 as of 3pm on June 16.

There has been concerns in the community whether this is a good move as the cash donations were meant for the poor community while others have supported the move stating that this is one way to "serve the country".

Leow said it was a collective decision by the Bishops of Peninsular Malaysia to offer one weekend's cash donation from all the parishes towards the national fund set up by the government to facilitate public donations to alleviate Malaysia's substantial debts.

He said in a statement on June 4, that this is the local church's commitment to assist in rebuilding the nation and fixed June 22 to 24 for contributing the collections to Tabung Harapan.

On June 30, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had announced the setting of national fund for the public to donate after several people volunteered to make contributions to settle the national debt and liabilities which had surpassed the trillion ringgit mark.

The government has promised to account for every single sen contributed and to manage the fund systematically and transparently.