The Johor incident started in 2014. At that time, the incident was contained in a tight lid, only the need-to-know were aware of it. Our Johor comrades did not make any big outcry because they understood that these would have negative effect to our members’ faith and practice. For the sake of SGM, Johor comrades engaged in closed door dialogues with SGM leaders in KL. If any of the Johor leaders would like to supply details of what happened during 2014 and 2015, please contact us.
What we are sharing in this website are things we have personally witnessed. And what we saw in this short time frame of ten months were really ugly stuff, stuff you never expected to see in a faith and just organization such as SGM and from leaders whom you trusted. If Ikeda Sensei was aware of this, we were sure his heart would be heartbroken as he had high hopes for Malaysia to be the hub of kosen-rufu in South East Asia.
We wanted this out in the open for people to read. We didn’t want the Johor incident to be forgotten as time rolled by. Many SGM leaders hoped this will happen, that time will hide everything.
The Johor incident was about misappropriation of funds and potential corruption allegations from past were being dug out. But these were things which we didn’t witness, so we won’t talk about it. What we saw was how SGM responded and the repercussion from those responses. The high-handed way of handling the matter had destroyed the harmony and unity of the organization, causing mistrust and hatred among leaders and members, which we feel was the sole responsibility of the General Director and the 6 top leaders of the Executive Central Committee. Their failures to manage this situation should be enough reasons for them to tender their resignation and stepped down. Their refusal to do so created even more questions and suspicions.
For instance, on Nov 2015, General Director of SGM made leadership changes. We saw many leaders in 4 Division losing their Chief positions and new leaders being announced in their place. What’s unusual was that the names of the leaders stepping down were people who voiced concerns over the Johor incident.
Further to this, more issues were revealed:
From a Registrar of Society point of view, SGM had only 300+ Full Members who had voting rights during Annual General Meeting. There were about 40,000 members in Malaysia who practiced Nichiren Buddhism, contributed energy and money to the society. And yet, from Malaysia law’s point of view, 39,700 members were considered donors – people who gave donations – they were not part of the SGM. What this means is that the organization is under the influence of 300+ Full Members.
When asked by comrades about what is the criteria to be part of Full Members, SGM was not able to provide answers. Some leaders applied to be Full Members and their applications were rejected. These 300+ Full Members in turned elected the 20 General Council members to represent them and to run the operations of SGM. But in Nov 2015, General Director consolidated power and established a 6-member Executive Central Committee that presided over the the General Council. Who determined this 6-member in ECC? If they are not even voted into their seats, have we turned into an authoritarian and dictatorship organization?
We also notice that the there was no Youth Leaders represented in the ECC nor General Council. Sensei said the future of kosen rufu lies with youth but why are there no youth representative on the decision making panel of SGM?
- The root cause of the whole Johor incident come from actions of one Johor top leader, the State Chairman. His integrity and mishandling of funds were the questioned by our Johor comrades. SGM admitted to the issue and he was later removed as the State Chairman of Johor and YET, he still sits in the General Council and he still retained his position as Vice MD Chief for whole of SGM. Why?
- In many organizations, people who reported on loop holes in the process are protected. This is to improve the risk and financial process of the organizations and also to catch the guilty person. But in SGM, the informers were persecuted. We saw how Johor’s Justice group were sidelined and sacked. They were labelled as troublemaker who slandered the Law. But, the same people who labelled Johor group are now a suspect of misconduct themselves. When there were issues of mismanagement of accounts, specifically monetary related, we should encourage people to report and any loop holes should be rectified. If we persecute people for asking questions, we are creating an authoritarian organization which will led by fear.
- Over the years, SGM spent MYR$27.9 Million on antiques. Why does a faith organization that is tasked to spread Buddhism through peace, cultural and educational activities need to invest millions of Ringgit on antiques? How does the collection of antiques spread Buddhism in Malaysia especially since SGM admitted that kosen-rufu have stagnant for the past 10 years in Malaysia? And where were these antiques being stored? We know some of them were kept along Chang Feng Hall but it was not publicly exhibited. There was a piece of huge oak tree block exhibited in IPA but really, how many members know how to appreciate this wood? If they do not, why are we using members sincere and hard earned money to purchase them?
- SGM top leader mentioned of a secret room in Cheras Kaikan that was locked. The key was held by only certain leaders. This secret room was air conditioned 24×7. When SGM was asked about this room, no answer was forth coming. What is stored inside this room and why go all out to keep it a secret?
- SGM has 4 sources of income – twice yearly gokuyo in April and October. Monthly kofu fund from members that were collected yearly or every 4 months. And another source of income was from adhoc contributions during New Year and Chinese New Year gongyo meeting which has no receipts. During Johor incident, many leaders called SGM to stop collecting adhoc contributions that have no documentary records. And yet, after two years of this incident, SGM continued to collect contribution. The inability to provide any documentary proofs made it difficult for leaders to defend SGM against any allegations of mishandling of funds.
We believe you can make your own judgement from these observations which we witnessed in the past 10 months. We also request that you start asking these questions to your own leaders. Find out the truth yourself. You will be surprised to uncover even more holes. We even put together a Q&A for you to prepare for your dialogue.
As we have stated at the beginning, we are not against SGM as an organization. We are against the current leadership at the very top, which are not able to manage the situation and not able to provide satisfactory answers to many of the questions that was raised. We also feel that if they resigned and conducted a re-election by the grassroot members and leaders, many of these issues would be settled. People are willing to forgive and move on. Unfortunately, they acted selfishly for their own agenda (little self) instead of for SGM and the future of kosen-rufu in Malaysia (bigger self).
Do you want these leaders guiding your faith? How are they going to lead kosen-rufu in Malaysia in the the future?
Download a high resolution PDF version of the Infographic by clicking here: Dark Days SGM
Essential Readings (Table of Content):