KUCHING: The seized Malay and Iban Bibles could be released by the middle of this week, once the paperwork on importation has been verified, according to a Selangor executive councillor.
“The (approval for) importation of Bibles is under the Home Affairs Ministry. The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) has been asked to contact the ministry to make sure the paperwork is right.
“Once that is done, the Bibles can be returned to the Bible Society of Malaysia,” Tourism, Consumer Affairs and Environment Committee chairman Elizabeth Wong told a press conference here yesterday.
She said measures had been put in place in attempting to end the controversy and also to prevent future recurrences. The Selangor government, she added, had introduced an oversight mechanism.
“We have expressed to Jais very clearly something was very wrong (regarding the raid). We want to stress the point that it was neither directed nor ordered by the Mentri Besar or the state Exco.
“All parties in the Exco have said this should not have happened. It’s not right to allow Jais to repeat such things.
“The Exco has decided that when it comes to any other action by Jais from now on, they must get approval from the Exco and Mentri Besar first,” Wong said.
At the same press conference, PKR’s Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli reiterated Pakatan Rakyat’s commitment to uphold religious freedom.
“Pakatan will guarantee religious freedom in accordance to the Constitution. We have written agreements between DAP, PAS and PKR, whether it is in Buku Jingga, Kuching Declaration or as part of the common policy platform,” he said.
Christians make up about 9% of the country’s population. The incident in Selangor has brought forth renewed focus — and confusion — on the controversy surrounding the usage of the word “Allah”.
Group wants assurance that Iban-language Bibles be free of interference from state agencies