PETALING JAYA: The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) will soon move from Selangor to Kuala Lumpur, where it says religious minorities are better protected by the Federal Government.
“The relocation will take place in May or June but the new premises are yet to be confirmed,” BSM president Lee Min Choon said when contacted.
“We are not seeking an apology. What we hope for is a good and democratic government which respects human rights, especially freedom of religion,” he added.
Lee pointed out that although three months had passed since the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) raided its office in Damansara Kim here, BSM had not been charged with any crime.
During the raid on Jan 2, Jais seized 321 Malay and Iban Bibles, citing a state enactment that prohibited the use of the word “Allah” and other Quranic terms by non-Muslims.
In announcing its intention to move to Kuala Lumpur, BSM said it believed Selangor was not conducive for it to carry out its work of supplying Bibles to Christians in Malaysia.
BSM had said it hoped the Selangor Government would follow the Federal Government’s example in adopting the 10-point solution, which would put to rest inter-religious tensions, but this did not seem to be forthcoming.
MCA’s Syariah Law and Policy Implementation Special Task Force deputy chairman Datuk Koo Chin Nam said BSM’s intended relocation was a “stinging indictment” against the Pakatan-led state government.
“BSM’s explanation (for its move) is also an affirmation that the Barisan Nasional Federal Government has kept to the 10-point solution reached with the Christian community,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism former president Datuk A. Vaithilingam expressed regret over BSM’s decision to move.
“However, I do not blame them at all. They were forced into the situation.
“It seems there is confusion and lack of communication between Jais and the state government,” he said.
Council of Churches of Malaysia general-secretary Rev Dr Hermen Shastri said BSM’s proposed move would not necessarily solve the problem.
“The protection of our right to profess and practise our religion is guaranteed in the Federal Constitution. We feel it is the sole duty of the Federal Government to ensure that this right is defended,” he said.