Hornbill Unleashed

April 16, 2014

In aftermath of Jais raid, Bible society moves to KL seeking better protection

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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JENNIFER GOMEZ

The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) will move its operations out of Selangor to Kuala Lumpur, a federal territory, following the raid by the state’s Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on January 2, 2014.

BSM president Lee Min Choon (pic) said today that move is needed as Putrajaya offers better protection to religious minorities. He also said that Putrajaya upheld the Cabinet’s 10-point solution to the Allah row by not disrupting the distribution of its Bible shipments.

Last January’s raid saw the seizure of some 300 Bahasa Malaysia and Iban-language Bibles from its premises in Damansara, Selangor.

Lee added that it will also no longer be importing Bibles through Port Klang.

“We will ship BM bibles directly to Sabah and Sarawak, where most of the Bahasa Malaysia bible readers are residing.

“As for the peninsula, we will ship through Penang, which does not have a law like the 1988 Selangor Enactment,” he told a press conference today.

Lee said the move is expected to happen in the next two months.

“We have shipments waiting to come in based on orders made before the raid. But because we don’t want to risk our Bibles being seized again, we have delayed the shipment of 50,000 BM Bibles from Indonesia.

“Based on Jais’s inaction over the last three months, there seems to be a better chance of MH370 being found before Jais completed its investigations,” Lee said.

Lee said that the move was inevitable since it had become obvious in the last one week that the Selangor state exco had washed their hands off the matter. The BSM office in Damansara Kim is just metres away from the state’s border with Kuala Lumpur.

“Since the raid we have given them three months but they refuse to take action over agencies like Jais.

“We have no assurance from the Selangor exco that this incident will not happen again,” Lee said.

Lee said that in future, Christians and churches who want to buy the BM Bibles, or Al-Kitab, from BSM will have to get them from BSM outlets that will be established in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuching, Miri and Kota Kinabalu as part of the relocation exercise.

Currently, BSM’s only other outlet apart from its Damansara Kim office is a storeroom in Kota Kinabalu.

He added that the relocation of its main registered business address from Damansara Kim to Kuala Lumpur will, however, be subject to Registrar of Societies approval.

“Christians residing in Selangor will have to personally undertake the risk of transporting and using the BM Bible in Selangor territory,” he said, adding that he did not anticipate such problems for the rest of the country.

Lee said that despite BSM, the sole distributor for Bibles in Malaysia, calling on Selangor state exco to follow the example of the federal government by adopting the 10-point solution that will put an end to inter-religious tensions in Selangor, this has not happened.

He added that since the announcement of the 10-point solution in April 2011, BSM had imported 400,000 copies of the Al-Kitab into the country.

“On each occasion, these shipments were cleared by KDN at Port Klang without delay and without any problems,” Lee added in reference to the Home Ministry.

Lee said, however, that there are no plans for now to initiate any legal action against the Selangor authorities who seized their Bibles.

He instead hoped that with the move to states where the 10-point solution applies, the January 2 incident will not happen again.

While the move from its current premises in Damansara Kim, which they have occupied for over 30 years will be difficult on its finances, Lee said they could not carry on under the present circumstances.

The Al-Kitab and Bup Kudus, similar to those confiscated by Jais during its illegal raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia in January this year. - The Malaysian Insider pic, April 15, 2014The Al-Kitab and Bup Kudus, similar to those confiscated by Jais during its illegal raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia in January this year. – The Malaysian Insider pic, April 15, 2014On January 2, a team of Jais officers and two policemen went to the BSM offices in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, and carted away 300 books comprising both the Al-Kitab and the Iban-language Bible, or Bup Kudus.

Since then, the society has been looking to get an explanation from the state over the seizure.

Last week, the state government was accused of washing its hands off the affair after Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim advised BSM to write to the Attorney General for the return of the Bibles.

“We suggest this as under the present circumstances it would be best for them to write to the Attorney General. This is also to show that the BSM is keen to get back the seized copies,” Khalid had said.

BSM, however, said it would not write to the AG, and accused the state government of “washing their hands of their responsibility”, adding it showed that Selangor rejects the 10-point solution drawn up by Putrajaya allowing Christians to import and print Bibles of all languages locally.

Lee said today, that in the span of the last three months since the raid, the Selangor state exco is yet to announce any measures to make Jais accountable and responsible or to make the Muslim body respect the rights of minorities.

He pointed out that a Selangor state exco member had been quoted in the media today as  saying that non-Christians can use the word Allah in Selangor, and that it is only banned from being used for the purpose of proselytising to Malays.

“Where is the action to back up that statement?

“Obviously Jais does not interpret the law that way, otherwise they would not have raided us,” he said, lamenting that there has been no assurance from the Selangor state government that a similar raid on BSM will not recur.

1 Comment »

  1. Malaysia is a breeding ground for the Islamic extremists supported by UMNO. It is a matter of time for them to wipe out people they called infidels.

    Comment by Hopeless Nation — November 15, 2014 @ 10:21 PM | Reply


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