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Tuesday January 7, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Wednesday January 8, 2014 MYT 2:42:47 PM
by martin carvalho
KUALA LUMPUR: The newly-formed National Unity Consultative Council says the recent raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim was a “blatant disregard” for the agreed solution to the distribution of Christian publications in Bahasa Malaysia.
“NUCC regrets the raid and confiscation of the Bibles (by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department or Jais),” council chairman Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman said yesterday.
“It is a blatant disregard for the 10-point solution made by the Federal Government in April 2011 and reiterated by the Prime Minister in October 2013.”
“We call on the Government to ensure compliance with the solution and respond to the challenges to national unity with a greater sense of urgency,” he said after the NUCC inaugural meeting here.
The council also urged all parties to abide by the solution, which had been accepted by the Christian Federation of Malaysia.
Responding to a question, Samsuddin said the meeting had not touched on the issue of non-Muslims using the word “Allah”.
“We are not touching the ‘kalimah Allah’ issue. That is for the religious people to work out. We are talking about raids on places of worship.
Samsuddin, who is former Chief Secretary to the Government, said that Malaysians must respect all places of worship and not hold demonstrations outside any of them.
However, the council refrained from saying that the Jais raid was “wrong”, arguing that NUCC could not take sides.
“Like a father, NUCC cannot blame our children, but can say this is cannot happen again,” he said.
Last Thursday, Jais enforcement officers seized 350 copies of Christian publications from the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia in Damansara Kim here.
It is understood that the raid was carried out under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 that prohibits the use of the word “Allah” and other Quranic terms by non-Muslims.
Earlier, Samsudin said that NUCC had been tasked by the Government to come up with a national bluerprint on unity within two years.
He said NUCC will hold nationwide townhall talks and roundtable discussions with non-governmental organisations and interest groups starting on Feb 22 in Kuala Lumpur.
NUCC working committees would also hold closed door meetings with the religious authorities and community leaders on issues affecting national unity and submit their first report to the Government in June.
Jais will be among the participants, Samsuddin said, adding: “NUCC will serve as unity bridge builders in Malaysian society.”
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