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Govt puts the Bible under ‘ISA detention’ in port

Fri 2011-Mar-11 @ +08 13:15:32 pm

Since March 2009, all attempts to import the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, i.e. the Alkitab, whether through Port Klang or the Port of Kuching, have been thwarted. It would appear as if the authorities are waging a continuous, surreptitious and systematic programme against Christians in Malaysia to deny them access to the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia.
Christian Federation of Malaysia

Church leaders disillusioned, fed up and angry

In a strongly-worded statement, Protestant church leaders have said they are “disillusioned, fed up and angered” by repeated detention at ports of Bibles written in Bahasa Malaysia. The Christian Federation of Malaysia said on Thursday that 30,000 copies of the New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs were being withheld, despite government assurances that imports of the Alkitab, as the Bible is called in Malay, would be permitted.

On Wednesday the Home Ministry denied that it had confiscated and detained 5,000 copies of the Bible in Malay imported from Indonesia. It said the Bibles had been refused entry into Malaysia for not fulfilling the ministry’s requirements. A letter of refusal dated June 26, 2010 was sent to the importer; however, the importer had yet to claim the cargo.

(Previously the home ministry has said that action against Christian literature in Malay, through seizures or detentions at ports, was taken on grounds of “national security”.)

The ministry’s statement was in response to the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship which said on Tuesday that the ministry had confiscated and detained the bibles in Port Klang since last year and refused to release them although the Cabinet had approved the release of the consignment.

Yesterday, the Christian Federation of Malaysia issued a statement pointing out that a load of Bibles was being detained at the port of Kuching, and outlined steps that had been taken against Christian literature despite ministerial assurances.

DETENTION OF BAHASA MALAYSIA BIBLES YET AGAIN

By Bishop Ng Moon Hing
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) is greatly disillusioned, fed-up and angered by the repeated detention of Bibles written in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia. This time yet again at the Port of Kuching in Sarawak.

30,000 copies of the “Perjanjian Baru, Mazmur dan Amsal” i.e. the “New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs” are currently being withheld.

This is notwithstanding that the Government in its attempt to to justify its position against the use of the word “Allah” in the Alkitab, the Government had given the assurance that the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, will be freely available, at least in Sabah and Sarawak.

Since March 2009, all attempts to import the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, i.e. the Alkitab, whether through Port Klang or the Port of Kuching, have been thwarted.

The previous consignment of 5,000 copies of the Alkitab imported in March 2009 is still being held by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Port Klang. This is despite repeated appeals which resulted in the Prime Minister making a decision to release the Alkitab held in Port Klang in December 2009 which was reported to CFM leaders by several Cabinet Ministers and their aides.

In absolute disregard of this decision, the 5,000 copies of the Alkitab remain detained. The Prime Minister when told about the continued detention of these 5,000 Bibles at a hi-tea event last Christmas expressed surprise that the order to release the same held in Port Klang had not been implemented. However, nothing has been done by the authorities to ensure their release.

Prior to March 2009, there were several incidents where shipments of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia were detained. Each time tedious steps had to be taken to secure their release. It would appear as if the authorities are waging a continuous, surreptitious and systematic programme against Christians in Malaysia to deny them access to the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia.

Malaysian Christians, many of whom have grown up with Bahasa Malaysia as their principal medium of communication as a result of the Government’s education policies, must have access to Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia in order to read, comprehend and practise their faith.

The freedom of religion guaranteed as part of the fundamental liberties under our Federal Constitution is rendered meaningless if adherents to a religion are denied access to their religious texts in a language that they can understand.

It is an affront to them that they are being deprived of their sacred Scriptures. Many are wondering why their Scriptures are considered a threat to national security. All these actions in relation to the detention of the Bibles continue to hurt the Malaysian Christian community.

We would ask how the Government’s transformation programme can be successfully implemented if civil servants can blatantly refuse to obey the Prime Minister’s order? Is the Government powerless to act against these “little Napoleons” who substitute their own interests and agenda in place of the Prime Minister’s directives?

We call upon the Government to act now and prove their sincerity and integrity in dealing with the Malaysian Christian community on this and all other issues which we have been raising with them since the formation of the Christian Federation of Malaysia in 1985.

As an immediate step, we insist upon the immediate release of all Bibles which have been detained.


Bishop Ng Moon Hing is chairman of the executive committee of the Christian Federation of Malaysia. » Press statement
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One Comment
  1. Sun 2011-Mar-13 @ +08 12:37:34 pm 12:37

    FEAR NOT BIBLE – 130311

    Fear not the Holy Bible
    Helping in spirit to enable
    You all to become more capable
    In connecting with the spiritual cable

    (c) Samuel Goh Kim Eng
    http://motivationinmotion.blogspot.com
    Sun.13th Mar. 2011.

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