The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) has described Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim's proposal for the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) to seek the return of the copies of the Bible seized from it on its own as "unacceptable'.
It is a ludicrous suggestion that the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) has the power to seize the copies, but that these can be released only with the approval and authorisation of the attorney-general, CFM said.
"This is nothing short of 'passing the buck' and it is totally unacceptable," CFM chairperson Reverend Eu Hong Seng said in a statement today.
"The Selangor state government is duty bound to act in this matter and must not shirk its responsibility," he said.
His statement came after Khalid told BSM to write to the Attorney-General's Chambers on its own to request the release of its over 300 copies of the Bible in the Malay and Iban languages that Jais seized in January.
Eu said the state government's response was "disappointing" and appeared to be an attempt to "wash its hands off" the mater.
He noted that Jais was empowered by state laws and that it could only act upon consultation with and on the advice of the Selangor government. Therefore, the state government must be accountable for the seizure.
"It is therefore perverse that the Selangor state government is now asking BSM to look to the attorney-general to resolve this matter.
"CFM strongly urges the Selangor state government to act without further delay to order the safe and prompt return of the copies of the Bible to BSM," Eu added.
Under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988, non-Muslims are not allowed to use the word "Allah", including in non-Muslim publications such as the Bible.
Putrajaya has refused to intervene in the matter, stressing that the Bible in the Malay language containing the word 'Allah' may only be used in states without laws similar to that in Selangor.'