KUCHING: The Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) has confirmed that it will now participate in a Christmas carol programme by state-owned television station TVS with the inclusion of "O Holy Night" in the song line-up.
ACS chairman Bishop Datuk Danald Jute said the decision was made after Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg and Deputy Premier Datuk Douglas Uggah intervened in the matter.
"Both are keen for the programme to proceed and to include 'O Holy Night'. We deeply appreciate and honour their support," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 29).
Danald said ACS' earlier decision to withdraw from "A Christmas Carol, Sarawak in Diversity", scheduled to be held on Dec 3, was not made lightly after TVS was unable to meet its request to replace "Jingle Bell Rock" with the Christmas carol.
"TVS' outright rejection of our suggestion on the grounds of religious elements is utterly ludicrous.
"Such an unbelievable reason made us feel slighted and discriminated against," he said.
Danald also said TVS' claim that a miscommunication over the song choice occurred among the parties involved was "deceptive and mischievous".
He said there was no miscommunication on ACS' part in submitting its request and having it rejected.
"It is quite laughable that TVS should now claim they have no intention of excluding the song from the programme.
"The truth is that the song is now included because the Premier has directed it to be included," he said.
Danald reiterated that ACS was committed to safeguarding harmonious relationships in Sarawak and Malaysia.
He called on everyone to support efforts and activities towards building greater unity and understanding among Malaysians, irrespective of racial, cultural and religious backgrounds.
"We are against any form of discrimination and marginalisation. We call upon the government, both state and federal, to send out a clear signal that all are equal and ought to be respected.
"No government officers or agencies should make any arbitrary decision which will jeopardise our unity and understanding," he said.