How much did Taib donate to the school using his own money?

Why invite Taib to open St Joseph’s new building?

Why invite Taib to open St Joseph’s new building?

Francis Paul Siah
12:05PM Aug 20, 2013

COMMENT Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has been invited to officially open the new building of St Josephs Private School in Kuching this Saturday, Aug 24.

Whose idea was it to grant such an honour to a heavily tainted politician and Sarawaks most loathed man at this private Catholic event, a former classmate asked me in an email recently.

The immediate reaction that crossed my mind at that time was why the need to invite the chief minister at all when this was a private project that has nothing to do with the government?

And yes, I also posed then as to whose grand idea it was to suggest inviting Taib in the first place and who was ultimately responsible for approving the invitation?

Soon, several of my Catholic ex-classmates of St Josephs School were engaged in a heated email forum on the subject.

The main poser was the same - why was Taib given this privilege when the new Catholic project has nothing to do with him or the state government at all?

All of them vehemently disagreed with the invite to Taib. There was a general consensus that with the odds heavily stacked against the chief minister, principally for his well-publicised corrupt practices and abuse of power, he was the most unsuitable guest-of-honour at this Catholic event.

The St Josephs Private School was initiated by the Catholic Archdiocese of Kuching. It is strongly supported and close to the hearts of the Catholic community in Sarawak, particularly in the state capital.

It was a labour of love of the Catholic fraternity and the school is primarily funded with their sweat and tears.

The congregation responded generously to the churchs appeals for financial aid to put up a new building to house the school. Our little group also chipped in. We acknowledge that this was a genuine and worthy cause and that our Catholic children and others keen to study in the school should receive an education with sound moral values.

Our group asked many questions in our email forum. However, as the discussion was a private affair among friends, it would be wrong of me to quote them.

Some quotes

However, I will reveal my participation in the discussion. These are some of the statements Ive made.

The situation is frustrating because our church authorities, and now our Catholic school authorities, have not been able to handle church-state affairs prudently or conscientiously nor respond effectively on matters of a political nature.

For heavens sake, this is a private school and hence, a private project. It has nothing to do with the government, so why the need to invite the CM.

I think the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Joseph Marino, is the most suitable guest-of-honour at a function like this or Archbishop Emeritus Peter Chung.

So what if Taib also donated to the project? Its probably ill gotten gains from the state anyway.

I wonder whose bright idea it was to get the CM to perform at the opening ceremony. I can only guess. The same old Catholic loyalists of Taib are around. (Three names of prominent people mentioned.) Im sorry to say that there are also Catholics who are linked to the CM and had been amply rewarded for their undivided loyalty.

I must also respectfully inform Kuching Archbishop John Ha here that many Catholics in Kuching, particularly parishioners of St Josephs Parish, are very unhappy with the decision to have a morally tainted personality to officially launch such an important Catholic function.

As a parishioner of St Josephs myself, I also feel duty bound to inform my Archbishop that a large cross-section of the Catholic community are also holding His Grace responsible for the fiasco of inviting a most dishonourable chief minister as the guest-of-honour of a very honourable and joyous Catholic event.

Although I can guess that it was not Archbishop John Has idea nor decision, he has to shoulder the blame as he is the head of the Archdiocese of Kuching.

It’s a grave mistake to have the CM involved in the opening of the schools new building. This is a religious event, not a political one and there is no need to entangle politicians in it.

The Kuching Archbishop is a very holy man and a learned theologian but has almost zero political acumen. He is poles apart from Bishop Paul Tan of the Johor-Malacca Diocese in terms of public astuteness and political consciousness.

I am worried that our good archbishop could have been ill advised by some lay Catholics on matters of public affairs.

On a personal note, I must also mention that my late father (Andrew Siah) would have been most unhappy too if he was still around to learn of this controversy.

St Josephs set up in 1965

He was the principal of the first St Josephs Private School set up in 1965 in Kuching. Then, the school was meant to enable students who failed the Primary Six (Common Entrance) exams to continue to Form 1 and beyond.

In 1969, my dad and several of his colleagues were tasked by the La Salle Brothers and the Catholic Mission to establish St Patricks School which also offered Form 4 to Form 6 classes. He was the first principal of St Patricks.

My father spent his entire teaching career in the pursuit of Catholic education which sees all knowledge as sacred when human insight is combined with divine revelation in the pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty.

He would be sad to learn that the new St Josephs Private School which shares the same goals as the first one he helmed in 1965 for the Catholic Church should be dirtied with the presence of greed, corruption, power abuse and everything evil on its opening day.

As the opening date of the school nears, I asked a Kuching friend for an update on the matter and this was his text message to me last night.

Many have declined to attend event on Aug 24. Church people think Papal Nuncio should be given the honour, not a political figure. People running the show seem servile. They lack spirit and character. Sad.

Like all La Sallean schools throughout the country, former students of St Josephs in Kuching are very proud of their alma mater.

Unfortunately for me, with a former Josephian like Taib Mahmud still hanging around and continuing to bring shame, dishonour and disrepute to the school, people and state, whos proud to be a Josephian?

Not me, certainly.
FRANCIS PAUL SIAH is a Catholic from Kuching and used to be a proud Josephian. He currently heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS).

dia CM ma.
Can do anything he like.
Later on he mad, he relocate your school in jungle, then you know. haha.

What an honor to have the Chief Minister to visit…

He has his own money?

ahaha. Sarawakian’s money. :evil: :evil: