16 JUNE 2014
I am completely flabbergasted at the turn of events in the bible saga last week after the Attorney General declared that no prosecution would be made against the Bible Society of Malaysia and that the case was closed. Instead of returning the Bahasa Malaysia and Iban bibles they had seized in January from the premises of the Bible Society, MAIS and JAIS openly defied the AG’s decision and expressed their intention to dispose of those bibles, which were meant to be for Christians in East Malaysia.
The debate in Peninsula Malaysia is now turning to the question of whether MAIS and JAIS are answerable to the Sultan or to the State. However, the Christians in Sarawak and Sabah are not interested in who the master of these monsters is. All that concerns us is that we be left alone to practice our faith in peace. Why should our bibles have been seized in the first place when we were told by the PM and his ministers that the ‘Allah’ judgment would not affect us? Those bibles were meant to be for Christians here. Who are those Muslims who might be ‘confused’ and how would they be confused since they would have nothing to do with the bibles? MAIS and JAIS should be ashamed of themselves for bringing their religion into disrepute by trampling on the rights of Christians in this country. Reading their statements, one cannot help but form the conclusion that Muslims are so weak-willed and possess so little conviction of their faiths that they would be confused by publications that they would never set their eyes upon. I believe that this cannot be the case. It seems that these so-called religious bodies are constantly trying to find justifications for their existence, as evidenced by their regular paranoid accusations of imaginary attacks on Islam.
The AG has reiterated his opinion that no offence had been committed as no law had been breached. He has stated that investigation papers revealed the Al-Kitab, the Malay-language Bible, is a compilation of the Old and New Testaments and is essential text for Christians, and is not a security threat. What then is the problem? MAIS and JAIS are unable to articulate their case rationally and sensibly, instead relying on their favourite bogeyman of confusion and proselytization to whip up fear and suspicion where none existed. By dismissing the AG’s decision, they betray their ignorance of the laws of this country. We have to question how such people came to be appointed to hold high offices – the damage and havoc they wreak in our multi-religious communities are disastrous and not easily repaired.
The supreme law of our land, the Federal Constitution states in Article 145 (3) that “The Attorney-General shall have the power, exercisable at his discretion, to initiate, conduct or discontinue and proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial.” Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code expressly states that the Attorney General shall be the public prosecutor and shall have the control and direction of all criminal prosecutions and proceedings. By dismissing the AG’s decision, are MAIS and JAIS telling us they are mightier than the Constitution? Who do they envisage taking on to prosecute their case? It has been held that as the Constitution exclusively authorizes the AG to institute, conduct or discontinue proceedings for an offence, it must follow that no other authority may be lawfully empowered with that function (see Repco Holdings Bhd v PP  3 MLJ 681]). By insisting that they are answerable only to the Sultan, are MAIS and JAIS trying to silence the voices of all Muslims in this matter, especially those who are brave enough speak up for the rights of Christians? What a sorry excuse for a democracy if this deplorable state of affairs is allowed to continue.
What is even more sickening to us is the apparent helplessness of the country’s leaders in this pathetic saga. Where is the Prime Minister when we need a leader to put an end to this nonsense? These religious bodies are like uncontrollable kids testing their boundaries to see how far they can go. No person in authority has come forward to put them in their places so far. Therefore their boundaries have just been pushed further. Where will it end? When the boundaries have been completely broken? Clearly, the Prime Minister lacks the testicular fortitude to deal with these groups of rabble-rousers, preferring instead to have photographs taken with panda bears, taking selfies with Barack Obama and waxing lyrical about Chinese hard-boiled eggs. Will it be another exercise in futility to hope that he will see fit to set frivolities aside and put a full stop to the MAIS/JAIS madness?
These issues have escalated precisely because we have a weak and ineffective Prime Minister who had neither will nor courage to nip the problem in the bud when it first reared its ugly head. MIAS and JAIS clearly have no appreciation for or any understanding of the rule of law, nor do they care about the constitutional rights of non-Muslim Malaysians. They have no respect for authority, as shown by the thumbing of their noses at the AG. If they are allowed to get away with this open defiance and arrogance, this nation will be doomed. What will be the meaning of the rule of law as the foundation of our nation and government then? We will be opening ourselves to the disaster of extremist rule, or to the catastrophe of anarchy. At the very least, the Prime Minister must do the right thing now and support the AG’s decision.
Sarawakians are watching with bewilderment and disgust at the farce unfolding in West Malaysia. Contrary to the reassurances given, the Christians in Sarawak and Sabah are the ones most affected by the insanity raging in the West. Our people cannot understand why the Islamic authorities there would seize our holy books and seek to destroy them. Our people of diverse religions and cultures have coexisted peacefully and happily for generations and we do not wish to be tainted by the goings-on in the West. Our people are bitterly and angrily reflecting on the broken and unfulfilled promises of the Malaysian Agreement. What a raw deal we have been given.
Will the Prime Minister please stand up?
ADUN N70 BA’ KELALAN