Saturday, February 28, 2009


(Revised 3 March 2009 with Addendum)

CT is aghast and shocked as events unfolded this morning at Damansara Perdana. The way our former long-serving deacon, Dr. Lum was treated by a so-called “Independent” Panel of Inquiry is something we might read about in some draconian government or some communist country of yester-year.

At 9.30am today, Dr Lum together with his witnesses went to Damansara Perdana to attend an Inquiry supposedly formed by the Board of Deacons (BOD). Two out of his proposed list of 10 witnesses were barred from entering the church premises, for reasons best known to the Panel Chairman, Dato Nelson. The 2 persons barred were proposed by Dr Lum a few days earlier in writing to Dato Nelson, to be present for the purpose of observing the proceedings and to verify the authenticity of the final minutes of the Inquiry.

When the Inquiry was about to begin, only Dr Lum was allowed into the Inquiry room. None of his witnesses were allowed to accompany him despite Dr Lum, having written to Dato Nelson yesterday for one witness to assist him, as he, being a medical doctor, is not well-versed in inquiry procedures and proceedings.

A stand-off ensued and Pastor Steven was asked by Dr Lum and his witnesses to mediate and come to an understanding of the terms of reference and some agreed ground rules for the Inquiry. The mediation was necessary because Dato Nelson refused to meet Dr Lum for a direct discussion on the procedures. Dr Lum and his witnesses also expressed their concern that based on the letters issued by the BOD to Dr Lum, they had already decided on his termination and that this Inquiry is merely for show.

Dr Lum proposed the following:-

1. That Dato Nelson discharge himself as Chairman due to questions on his independence and impartiality. The reasons for this are that at the last EGM, Dato Nelson strongly spoke up in support of SP and criticized the concerned members for “attacking” SP with questions and that Dato Nelson was instrumental in helping SP receive the “Datukship” title.

Dr Lum made it very clear that even if Dato Nelson refuses to discharge himself, he will be willing to attend the Inquiry.

2. That he, be assisted by Datuk KC, as he is not well-versed with inquiry procedures, his rights and will not be able to ask the right questions.

3. That if the Inquiry was video-taped, he wants a copy of it so that he can verify the final transcript of the minutes.

4. That he be accompanied by 2 witnesses to take notes and minutes of the proceedings.

5. That he be allowed to cross-examine any witness produced by the prosecutor and vice versa.

6. That if the above conditions are not met, he will be willing to subject himself to another panel with mutually agreed terms of reference or to an open hearing at an EGM.

Dato Nelson responded as follows:-

1. He will not discharge himself.

2. He does not agree to anyone assisting Dr Lum as this Inquiry is a fact-finding exercise.

3. The Inquiry will not be video-taped but audio-taped and Dr Lum will NOT be given a copy of the tape.

4. He will allow only one observer who cannot take notes or ask questions or advise Dr Lum.

5. He agreed to allow cross-examination of witnesses.

6. He reiterated there was no need to meet Dr Lum and his witnesses.

Dr Lum decided that in view of the above, he WILL NOT subject himself to such an Inquiry.

Dr Lum and his witnesses left thereafter and Dato Nelson proceeded with the Inquiry without Dr Lum’s presence.

It is left to be seen if this will become the first kangaroo court in Malaysian church history. We hope it will not be.


ADDENDUM – Sequence of events leading to the Inquiry

Many readers are puzzled about what actually happened during the time between Dr Lum’s resignation from the Board of Deacons in November 2008 and the latest Inquiry saga at Damansara Perdana last Saturday.

After Dr Lum’s resignation from the Board of Deacons on 22 November and his subsequent revelations of the wrong-doings in our Church and the misuse of power and church funds in an interview on CT, the BOD set out on a vindictive effort to “crucify” him. Below is the sequence of events relating to his “termination” as a church member and the setting up of an Independent Inquiry chaired by a close long-time friend of SP, Dato Nelson, whose integrity and independence are in question.

20 December 2008 – BOD Notice

BOD put up a Notice on the notice boards at all our church premises to inform the members and worshippers of the erroneous statements and misrepresentations made by Dr Lum in his interview with CT. The Notice mentioned and attempted to clarify 5 issues out of the 23 issues highlighted by Dr Lum.

27 December 2008 - 1st BOD Letter

BOD decided that the season of love was a good time to serve a letter of termination of church membership on Dr Lum. When everyone was still in Christmas mood, Dr Lum received a Christmas gift he never expected from his long-time peers in the Board.

The letter alleged that he has caused erroneous statements and misrepresentations to be published in the public domain and that it has caused confusion, strife and division in the church. They deemed his action as unscriptural and has (quote) “decided to remove his name from the Church Membership Roll” (unquote). In the next paragraph, they stated that they will give him an opportunity to be restored to the fellowship. To do so, he was to call the Church Secretary to meet the BOD.

5 January 2009 – 1st DL Letter

Dr Lum wrote to the BOD to express the disappointment, despair and confusion their letter had caused him and his family and to seek their explanation on the purported erroneous statements and misrepresentations. Dr Lum also asked for their confirmation on the status of his membership due to the ambiguity of the first letter.

12 January 2009 – 2nd BOD Letter

BOD responded that under the Church Constitution, they had the right to discipline members who walk disorderly, departed from the Tenets of Faith and are unrepentant of unscriptural conduct but before they do so, they will give Dr Lum an opportunity to be restored to the Fellowship. Their letter mentioned that an independent body will be set up to hear his explanation and to make recommendation to the BOD whether his actions constituted unscriptural conduct which warrant his removal from the Church Membership Roll.

20 January 2009 – 2nd DL Letter

Dr Lum wrote to the BOD to inquire on the Independent Body and its composition and more importantly, to seek their clarification of the purported erroneous statements and misrepresentations made by him and the actual status on his Church membership.

23 January 2009 – 3rd BOD Letter

BOD Secretary replied to say that they will revert to Dr Lum after their BOD meets to discuss his letter.

3 February 2009 – 4th BOD Letter

The BOD responded that further particulars in respect of the erroneous statements and misrepresentations will be provided in due course. They clarified that the members of the independent body will be appointed from the members of the Church and that they will inform Dr Lum who the members of the independent shall be in due course.

17 February 2009 – Nelson Letter

Dato Nelson wrote to Dr Lum under the Church letterhead that the BOD has constituted an independent inquiry to determine whether the actions by Dr Lum in causing to be published certain matters concerning Calvary Church which had the effect of causing confusion, strife and division in Calvary Church, amounted to unscriptural conduct.

The letter identified Dato Nelson himself as the Chairman with Bro Puan Chen Keck and Sis Peggy Low as the other panel members.

The letter stated that the unscriptural conduct was in regard to statements by Dr Lum in respect of 9 items (copied and pasted from the interview on CT).

23 February 2009 – 3rd DL Letter

Dr Lum wrote to Dato Nelson to express his disappointment that the BOD did not have the courtesy to inform him as to who the Panel of Inquiry members are, despite their assurance that they will do so in their letter dated 3 February 2009.

Dr Lum commented that Dato Nelson’s letter dated 17 February 2009 is technically wrong as Dato Nelson, by signing the letter himself (and not signed by the BOD) has appointed himself and his own panel.

Dr Lum expressed that he is terribly confused by the series of ambiguous letters from the BOD, all of which, exhibits much confusion, inconsistency and incongruity. Therefore, he does not even know if the purpose of the Inquiry is to restore him back to the Church Fellowship or to decide on whether to terminate him. The BOD's continual use of the word "restore" implies that he has already been sacked as a member.

Dr Lum stated his stand that Dato Nelson is disqualified to be a member of the panel as his impartiality and independence are in question, the reasons being that at the recent EGM, Dato Nelson spoke strongly in support of the Senior Pastor and he was instrumental in helping the Senior Pastor receive the ‘Datukship’ title.

Dr Lum provided the list of his 8 witnesses (Dr Nah, Datuk KC, Bro Sam Ho, Bro Hong Meng, Bro Raymond Cheeng, Bro Teng, Bro Siew Chyuan and Bro Adrian Lee), 2 observers/witnesses (Bro Cheam and Bro Alan Chan) and requested for the presence of 13 other witnesses (SP Prince Guneratnam, Pas Steven, Sis Bernadette, Bro Patrick Wong, Sis Pam Guneratnam, Pas Chris, Sis Jo Tay, Pas Adeline Koh, Bro Stephen Liu, Bro Edward Rajasingam, Bro Han, Bro Philip Tan and Pas Peter).

Dr Lum also expressed his opinion that the Panel of Inquiry should include representatives from the AG General Council and that the Inquiry should be recorded, with a copy of the recording given to him.

27 February 2009 – 4th DL Letter

Dr Lum wrote to Dato Nelson to state that he has not been informed as to whether the BOD is producing any witnesses for the inquiry and to furnish him the names of the witnesses (if any) by that night. Dr Lum also clarified that being a medical doctor, he is unfamiliar with inquiry procedures and therefore, he will be bringing Datuk KC Lim to assist him.

28 February 2009

Inquiry at Damansara Perdana.

CT Note:

Out of the 5 issues mentioned in the BOD Notice, 3 issues were re-stated in the Nelson letter with 6 new issues added in. One can only presume that the other 2 issues in the BOD Notice are no longer deemed to have caused confusion, strife and division in the Church and/or both issues are the truth. In total, out of the 23 issues highlighted in the interview on CT, only 9 issues are stated in the Nelson letter. The remaining 14 issues were not mentioned. One can only presume that the BOD are unable to dispute the truth of these 14 issues. CT shares the views of Dr Lum that all the 23 issues ought to be brought out for the Inquiry instead of just 9 selected issues.

It is interesting to note that 2 of the most important witnesses that Dr Lum requested for, namely SP Prince Guneratnam and Sis Pam Guneratnam did not show up on Saturday. Their testimonies under oath and before men and God, would have been most crucial and interesting. Alas, the truth may never be known.

The choice of Dato Nelson as Chairman of the Independent Panel of Inquiry is the silliest decision, the BOD and SP (as Chairman of the BOD) can make. Almost every long-time member of Calvary Church knows that Dato Nelson is a good buddy of SP. Every member present in the last EGM heard Dato Nelson spoke up strongly in support of SP. He also criticised the concerned members for questioning SP. The BOD knows that Dato Nelson was instrumental in helping SP receive his Datukship title. Lastly (and surprisingly), many members know that Dato Nelson is an avid 3D/4D lottery punter.

Appointing such a person with questionable impartiality and independence (and with debatable or unscriptural conduct), to chair an Independent Inquiry to determine whether Dr Lum who is a highly respected, long-serving deacon and who recently graduated with a Masters in Divinity, is guilty of unscriptural conduct is a joke, to say the least.

Dr Lum and his witnesses praying

before going in for the Inquiry.

This certainly does not look like

a mob which the alternate blog


Thursday, February 12, 2009

What's in the Audit Report on CIM?

What exactly is in the audit report on CIM prepared by the auditor, Ferrier Hodgson for the last EGM?

All that was explained to the members was that there were no impropriety in the CIM accounts. Any auditor will also arrive at that finding because CIM is a personal ministry of PG. A personal ministry is exactly that - personal. All entrepreneurs or sole proprietors of businesses can also tell you that their auditors will not question their personal usage of funds because the business belongs to them personally. It is their tax agent who takes the audited accounts and re-compute the figures for tax submission purposes. In this process, personal expenses are excluded from the accounts because non-business related expenses are not tax deductible. This aspect, however, will not be seen in the case of CIM as it proclaims to be non-profit or religious in nature and therefore, not subject to tax. (The recent de-registration of CIM as a member of NECF may have implications on its tax-free status).

So what Ferrier Hodgson said is not surprising. There can not be anything improper in the accounts of CIM in the eyes of an auditor because it is a personal ministry account. When the four members saw the CIM accounts on 21 June 2008 (read the 5th Update posted in this blog), their main concern was on the unauthorized transfer of funds from our Church Missions Fund to CIM and CARED. Their concern arose from the fact that this was a situation of a conflict of interest because PG is the Senior Pastor of the Church, the Head of the Missions Committee, the Chairman of the Board of Deacons and the Founder, Permanent Director and President of CIM and CARED. To top it all, none of the transfer of funds over the years was made known to the members of the Church, much less, approved by them, which should be the case in view of the amounts involved and the conflict of interest.

But was Ferrier Hodgson given the material facts and asked to check on the fund transfers and the Church/Missions accounts? No one knows what was the scope given to the said auditors. Auditors can only audit and give an opinion based on the scope given to them. From the clarifications by Ferrier Hodgson at the EGM, it would appear that they have been commissioned to just conduct an audit into CIM. Although no fault of theirs, are they not barking at the wrong tree?

To recap, below is the summary of accounts of CIM/CARED:-

It is to be noted that subsequently, after the EGM, CARED together with the balance cash was transferred back to the Church as an extended ministry. In late November 2008, PG announced that the balance cash in CIM will also be returned (he used a softer word "released" in some services) to the Church. This event took place soon after CIM was de-registered from the membership roll of NECF. We believe the bank, where CIM's account was kept and which got wind of the status of CIM, had some influence on the sudden change of heart by PG not to hold on to the funds, which he was adamant about keeping, all the while. (Read the post on 4 December 2008).

Now why is this CIM matter being brought out again?

After the EGM, Sister Liza, on 29 August 2008, wrote to the deacons for a copy of Ferrier Hodgson’s report. The deacons promptly rejected her request. Another Calvarite (Joe) wrote in to see the report and was asked to refer to the Missions Director. We cannot comment if that member got to see the report or was it followed through.

Disappointed, Sister Liza together with Bro KC and Bro Francis, engaged a legal firm of another Calvarite to officially request for a copy of the auditor’s report as well as the lawyer, KK Wong’s report on 6 November 2008.

The deacons replied on 13 November 2008 that “the CIM Board has consented to allow CIM information contained in the Reports to be viewed by Calvary Church members” and that the 3 members can make arrangements to view the Reports at Calvary Church’s premises. The letter went on to say that the Reports are highly confidential and before the 3 members can view the Reports, they “shall provide a written undertaking to the BOD that your clients (the 3 members) shall not disclose the Reports to any third party or the public”. The deacons did not clarify if “any third party” includes fellow church members.

We wonder who paid the auditors' fees - CIM or Calvary Church? If Calvary Church had paid for the auditor’s report and KK Wong has waived his fees for his report, should not all members be given free access to both reports? In fact, should not the reports be printed and given to the members as only summaries of the reports were verbally given to the members at the EGM?

For the record, the 3 members has not gotten to view the reports as they were not agreeable to sign the undertaking to keep quiet. They do not wish to be a party to hiding facts or the real truth of the matter, if indeed there were areas of concern in the reports.

The question that still bugs us is, why there is a need for any member to sign a “gag” undertaking, before being allowed to view the reports? Why can’t PG and the deacons be transparent?