Open letter to Ex Johor Region Chief

Dear Mr Tan Kiang Howe

I don’t know you personally. But did hear a lot of things about you recently, both good and not so good things. People say you were a kofu pioneer in Johor. Through sheer dedication, you have built SGM Johor into what it is today. There is truth, I believe, in this statement.

At the same time, I also hear that the real heroes behind the rapid  development was the Women’s Division leaders. It’s always the case every where, isn’t? But there is no denying that you played no small role in the history of Johor kosen-rufu.

At the same time, you also have many detractors. Allegations of corruption, abuse of power and arrogance are abound. You are not fit to be a top leader, they claimed. The attacks came from a group of top leaders in Johor, your compatriots.

In the heat of all these controversies, you were seen pacing up and down behind the gokuyo money collection counter during the last round of SEATC gokuyo. Why do you do things like this? Are you totally innocent and insensitive of the impact of your presence? Or do you do it in purpose to demonstrate to those that oppose you that they can’t touch you? I don’t think you have official duty like issuing receipt or a computer runner, do you?

What I am interested is not whether you did, or did not, commit wrong doings and benefited yourself in the process. What interest me is the effect of this crisis on SGM, on the members and also the future of Johor’s kosen-rufu, as well as Malaysia. A deep concern for me. It is precisely this that I am writing this open letter to you. I believe you also share the best interest of the organisation in your heart.

Your detractors have lost, basing on what had happened so far. They were sacked and those who disliked you  left. A few hundreds in total. You retain your positions at the General Council and the Vice SGM MD leader. The ECC and the General Council did not, or dare not, make any suggestion to remove you. If this is a war, you have won. With the fragmentation of the entire state, is the victory meaningful to you?

In the interest of the our beloved organisation, one that is of the Buddha’s will and decree, I earnestly urge you to consider resigning from all positions of leadership immediately. By doing so, it will certainly make a big step towards stamping out some of the fire that has been spreading and destroying the organisation.

I don’t understand why do you still want to hang on to these positions in Gakkai? Are you afraid that if you resign, then your detractors will say that you are admitting to your faults? If that is the case, then you will be putting your personal pride over the welfare of the members and SGM. That’s not right, is it?

At this point of the crisis, it is really unnecessary to think what others will say. Those who support you will continue to do so, and those who hate you will continue no matter what. The key is how does this action helps to reduce the tension and problems that SGM is facing today. Do you think that by retaining your position in the General Council actually serve kosen-rufu and SGM more than resigning?

Or do you think that since you were a pioneering member and built this Johor state, you are the rightful owner. A private property of Tan KH? I hope your head is not that big and your eyes not that blind to know that SGM has always been, and always will, be an organisation of the member, an organisation of Ikeda Sensei. Leaders are all servants.

Is it because of power, that you still want to influence the big decisions inside the General Council? Power is dangerous and when one is addicted to it, it can easily undo all the good deeds of the past few decades. President Ikeda often said that a leader’s position is Gakkai is one of responsibility, not power or authority. ‘Differences of position in an organization are temporary and provisional. They are no more than an expedient means for enabling all members to practice joyfully and become truly happy’. We are all equal before the Gohonzon, nothing more, nothing less.

I believe for a person like yourself, your experience and eloquence, you will be able to contribute a lot more at the grassroot, away from the limelight, encouraging members one by one. Let go. At this point, there is really no point hanging on. Nothing to proof.

To hang on to your current positions and disregard the feelings of the members in general will only make you look like power crazy, thinking that SGM Johor belongs to you personally and a totally selfish person who only wanted to maintain face at all cost.

Please consider what I say. I will pray for the happiness of you and your family in my morning gongyo.


A friend in SGM

16 thoughts on “Open letter to Ex Johor Region Chief

  1. Thank you for this. If there is a place to sign this letter, I will surely put my name. The foundation of kosen rufu in Malaysia collapsed because of one person. The future of kosen rufu is also uncertain because of one person. And yet, SGM continue to protect this one person. What is so important compare to the bigger picture of kosen rufu?


      1. The simple minded will deduce that TKH is holding the ECC hostages. That indirectly implied that the ECC has done something wrong which means they are guilty of something – either corruption or womanising or worse. The more SGM chose to protect TKH, the more these wild speculation runs in people’s mind. This downward spiral will doomed SGM as the Buddhist organisation in Malaysia. Very tragic.


  2. It boggles one’s mind to think that a single individual can do so much destruction to SGM reputation and the great goal of kosen-rufu. Something is not quite right here!! One would expect the leaders to exercise more wisdom and be decisive in their action.


  3. A member post this powerful sensei guidance from Flow 438 June 15-2008 pg 29. Ikeda sensei gave this guidance at a region leaders conference at the Nagona Training Centre on 28 August 2007.

    [” Mr Toda was fearless. He was incredibly strict towards corrupt leaders, and especially refused to condone those who engaged in financial misconduct and who caused the Gakkai problems on that score. HE EVEN DECLARED THAT ANY LEADER GUILTY OF MISUSING GAKKAI FUNDS SHOULD BE FORCED TO RESIGN. Mr Makiguchi, too was always scrupulous in money matters and expected the same of others. I will never forget Mr Toda describing Mr Makiguchi as “high-minded, never interested in taking even a penny for himself. He was content to live in honest poverty, and would fiercely attack any and all injustice.” …………….

    Mr GD, ECC and General Council, please read carefully and digest the above guidance from our 3 founding president. Don’t give excuses that Tan Kien Howe terms is not up yet etc.

    And Mr GD, don’t only always quote sensei guidance on not leaving Gakkai to threaten the members. You should also quote the above guidance to all leaders as a strict reminder to them. As a saying in Bahasa goes “Siapa yang makan cili, dia yang rasa pedas”!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly our sentiment. We are being put on a diet from Flow and Cosmic monthly, of respect for everyone, no compromise with evil and be absolutely strict with wrongdoings, never curry favor or condone such behaviour. How then, are we to reconcile these guidance and what we see actually happening?


    2. To give such flawed excuse as TKH term is not up yet to retain him in his current position is an act of betrayal to the trust of the general members to provide strong leadership. Not only TKH but the whole incompetent top leadership of SGM should go!!


  4. Sensei here sensei there is just a lip service, a shield to justify their action. They are laughing stocks. Action. Speak louder than words, if you are sensei’s true disciple, prove with your action, not lip. It’s easier said than done right?


  5. Mr Tan Kian Howe was the YMD chief during Johor’s pioneering days. The pioneers were the unsung heroes in the WD and MD divisions during the pioneering days too many to list by names. Almost of them are already in the Golden Age group or have passed on (but never forgotten). He inherited an organization whose foundation was already laid, and further expanded it. In a way, you can say here was a pioneer in Johor.


    1. Tan Kian Howe is a pioneer, no doubt about that. We are just thinking that with so much controversy and unanswered questions around his conflict of interest and allegations of pocketing money, he should do the organisation a favour by resigning and practice happily as a member. Instead, his hard stance on the matter, stubbornly hanging on various positions, led to the sacking of ten other pioneers, with no less contribution in Johor, and upset over 400 leaders.


  6. […] It is plain to all that the double standards that SGM practice today. We have a certain Vice GD who throw dirt, spewing hatred and alleging serious corruption of past GD, wrecking the good reputation of SGM repeatedly on facebook [Can he get more public than this?] and yet, no action is being taken against this Vice GD. Why? Because he is another ‘untouchable’, like the one down south? […]


  7. […] Lack of answers to matters pertaining to governance and transparency. Till today, no proper and direct answers as to why the leaders in Sungai Buloh and Puchong were sacked. Not even a termination letters. Why the silence? This is not in line with what we learnt; Treasuring each person, Many in body, one in mind. What happened? If you disagree we sack you? If you ask question we sack you? How can we work for kosen-rufu wholeheartedly when we have so much questions and doubts? It is an important responsibility of top leaders, GD especially, to provide convincing and direct answers. Open letter to Ex Johor Region Chief […]


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