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“It is a time to reflect on the values espoused by Christianity and our other great religions - of mutual respect, tolerance for one another, and helping those less fortunate.

“These are the same values that bind us, in this diverse and vibrant land of ours, together.”

These were the words of Najib Abdul Razak in his Christmas message to Malaysians.

There was once a time when these words would have held great meaning to everyone, but as events have shown in the past year, not everyone shares these values.

Yesterday, as we sat down to say grace and enjoy our Christmas lunch, did we ever wonder about those who are less fortunate?

Take for instance the Penan girls who were raped in 2008. If not for the revelations of a foreign NGO, the rakyat would not have known about their rape by timber loggers.

The government repeatedly denied that the girls had been sexually abused, and accused the victims of fabricating stories.

So, did the victims receive counselling? Did the pregnant girls receive financial help? What steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence?

Over in peninsular Malaysia, in Kelantan, two teenagers were allegedly gang-raped by 30 Malay men, who were high on drugs.

Malaysians were outraged, especially as it was revealed that the rapists included an uncle, his son and a nephew.

The gang-rape was committed in a hut, which was known to be a drug nest. Did the villagers think to call the police?

Newspaper photos showed a line of men, in purple fatigues, hiding their faces and being frog-marched to court.

So what happened to the two young girls? Did they ever receive justice? Or was the case considered “No further action” because of “insufficient evidence”?

Whilst PAS president Hadi Awang gallivants to Iran, and invites criticism from all sides in Malaysia, did he not think that the money spent on his trip could have been used to help the victims of Kelantan’s great flood of 2014?

Some flood victims are still in temporary shelters. When will they be rehoused? What happened to the money which was collected to help them?

In both East and West Malaysia, the indigenous people like the Orang Asli and the Sarawak natives have been displaced by logging activity, the spread of oil-palm plantations, and the building of mega-dams. They organise blockades to protest about the destruction of their way of life, and the violation of their rights.

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