Monday, January 13, 2014

Despite raid, Bible Society to continue distributing Bahasa Malaysia and Iban bibles

BY LEE SHI-IAN
JANUARY 12, 2014
LATEST UPDATE: JANUARY 13, 2014 07:17 AM
Despite a raid that grabbed world headlines, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) will continue importing and distributing the Bahasa Malaysia AlKitab and Iban-language Bup Kudus, both being translations of the Bible containing the word Allah.
BSM president Lee Min Choon (pic) said the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) had not said that they could not continue importing and distributing the bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban, despite seizing 320 copies the previous week.
"At our meeting with Jais officers on Friday, they merely asked questions about where the AlKitab was obtained from, who it was distributed to and how it was disposed," Lee told The Malaysian Insider.
Lee said 90% of the imported bibles were distributed in Sabah and Sarawak while the rest were for Bumiputera Christians residing in the peninsula.
He said the AlKitab and Bup Kudus were normally printed in Indonesia before being shipped to Malaysia.
"The BSM will normally place an order for the AlKitab when the churches want it. We are not a retail organisation. So we do not keep stock of the AlKitab," he said.
Lee said a Bible or AlKitab normally lasted an average of a year before it needed to be replaced as it was usually used daily.
"When a person looks through the Bible or Alkitab every day, it is normal for the book to become worn out and the bindings will also wear off.
"That is when the person will go back to his or her church to get a replacement," Lee said.
Lee and BSM manager Sinclair Wong went to the Jais headquarters in Shah Alam on Friday where they were interviewed for an hour.
Lee said the meeting had been a courteous affair and BSM had given Jais a copy of the AlKitab which had been stamped for clearance by the Home Ministry in 2011.
He expressed the optimism that the case would be resolved soon and amicably.
On January 3, a team of Jais officers accompanied by two policemen raided the BSM office in Damansara Kim.
They seized more than 300 copies of the Alkitab and Bup Kudus, and also took Lee and Wong to the Damansara police station.
Jais claimed that they were acting under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.
The Sultan of Selangor had also earlier issued a fatwa or edict prohibiting non-Muslims in the state from using the word Allah.
However, constitutional expert Dr Aziz Bari argued that any edict or fatwa from the Sultan could not be applied to non-Muslims. – January 12, 2014.
~ The Malaysian Insider

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