Kairos Research Centre is extremely encouraged by the enthusiastic reception of its book Doing the Right Thing: A Practical Guide on Legal Matters for Churches in Malaysia. Sales of the book has been brisk and we are down to the last few copies in our stock.
Perhaps the positive reception of the book is an indication of a growing concern in the mind of the public sparked off by recent trends in legislation that have led to the erosion of religious freedom, and by a series of disputes involving Shariah and Civil law which has generated some tension. These events confirm our conviction that all Malaysians should be well-informed about matters pertaining to law and religion in our society.
Kairos has therefore decided to make available online – with free access – the full text of our legal handbook, Doing the Right Thing. Our hope is that the book will help readers to gain confidence to defend their right to profess, practice and propagate their religion and to remain vigilant in defending their religious rights.
We are aware that laws do go out of date and as such, it may be necessary at some point to undertake a revision of the book to ensure that it remains up-to-date and relevant to our society. We welcome suggestions that will help improve the book. Suggestions may be sent to (email): kairos (AT) streamyx (DOT) com. The revision will be supervised by an Editorial and Revision Committee, members of which will be announced later.
Excerpt taken from the Preface to legal handbook, Doing the Right Thing (Kairos Research Centre 2004)
Churches in Malaysia operate under a set of laws that imposes restrictions on their freedom to practise their faith. The Christian community has often experienced anxieties about matters pertaining to the law, which can appear complex and intimidating.
Christians feel paralysed since they are unsure if they are doing the right thing. Arising from this, there is an obvious need for Christians to be equipped with a basic knowledge of the law so that they can exercise their Constitutional right to profess, practise and propagate the Christian faith with wisdom and courage that comes from knowing that they have done the right thing in the eyes of the law. It is with this in mind that Kairos Research Centre offers this handbook to the wider Christian public.
This handbook was put together with the help of several Christian lawyers. It represents an initial step in a long-term project to help Christians keep up with laws that change over time. Conceivably, other issues will arise in the future that will need to be addressed. Hence, the handbook will need to be updated from time to time. We welcome suggestions from our readers as to how the book may be improved so that it will become an invaluable resource for the Christian community.
Ng Kam Weng