Highlights of the NECF 13th Bi-ennial General Meeting
THE NECF executive council was elected for the 2012-2013 term at the 13th Bi-ennial General Meeting (BGM) on 12 May. There were no contests and voting was done en bloc by the 57 voting delegates in attendance.
The executive council for 2012/2013 is:
Chairman: Rev Eu Hong Seng
Vice-Chairman: Elder Kong Yeng Pooi
Honorary Secretary: Rev Elisha Satvinder
Honorary Treasurer: Dr Khoo Kay Hup
Hon. Assistant Treasurer: Pastor Tay Wah Seng
Rev Dexter Low
Rev Ng Kok Kee
Rev Simon Chandran
Ms Ee Joo Lian
Pastor Samuel Surendren Krishnan
Elder Thomas Lim
Rev Jerry Dusing
Rev Peter Mutang
Rev Chin Lee Yean
Pastor Chomy Ching Choon Mee
Pastor Tay Wah Seng was also voted in as Vice Chairman II, a post created through a constitutional amendment that will take effect once approved by the Registrar of Societies.
The BGM also marked the passing of the baton from outgoing Secretary-General Samuel Ang to Rev Chan Theam Lai. The meeting recorded a motion of thanks to Ang for his service. The BGM also approved other amendments to the NECF constitution with regards to the duties of office bearers and signatories for cheques or withdrawal notices on NECF's account.
In his report tabled to the BGM, Chairman Eu gave updates on some NECF nation-building projects. The proposed vocational centre cum camping ministry in Bangi has been put on hold as NECF is unable to fulfill new conditions imposed by the land owner to raise the money required under present economic conditions. The e-magazine Goodtimes.my was found to be financially unsustainable and ceased operations in April. Staff were given adequate termination notice and compensation packages.
Looking forward, Rev Eu said that NECF would assist churches in pioneering nation-building work but that churches had to eventually take ownership of these programmes.
Fleshing out some of these programmes, Ang in his Secretary-General's report to the BGM said NECF had launched initiatives in Sabah and Sarawak in collaboration with pastors' fellowships there. One of these is the launch of the Commission of Sabah Affairs (COSA) on 2 April as a platform for representation and collaboration of NECF member churches in the state. A similar initiative is being done in Sarawak through the Sarawak Ministers' Fellowship, with a pilot project to develop holistic pre-school education for children in the interior as a way to counter attempts to draw these young ones away from the Christian faith. The same project is to be replicated among the Orang Asli in Peninsular Malaysia. A third initiative is the Jubilee! campaign that kicks off on 16 Sept 2012 when Malaysia enters her 49th year as a country.
These initiatives have fostered closer ties between NECF and Christian leaders in Sabah and Sarawak and are deliberate strategies given that the majority of Malaysian Christians are in these two states. Ang appealed for more Peninsular churches to be understanding of East Malaysian counterparts and to assist their ministries.
NECF is also looking into the government's announcement in Budget 2012 that tax reliefs would be given for tithes and donations to houses of worship. Both Rev Eu and Ang said NECF would be meeting the Inland Revenue Board to work through the details and implications for churches and Christians.
On NECF's financial standing, Honorary Treasurer Khoo reported that NECF still relied heavily on donations as membership subscriptions only provided 31% of income. Donations had taken a dip in 2011 and for 2012 so far, since the last appeal for funds made in 2010. There also remained RM55,000 in unpaid subscriptions and it was noted that some smaller churches had difficulties paying. NECF will need another RM291,000 to cover operations for the rest of the year until Dec 2012.