The Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) will not be returning the Bibles it seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last January.
At a special meeting of the council yesterday, Mais said it did not agree with attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail’s decision to close the case.
“The reason given by the attorney-general in not prosecuting those involved will cause confusion among the Muslims,” said Mais chairperson Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa in a statement.
Mohamad Adzib added that it also disagreed with the state cabinet in ordering the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) to return the seized Bibles.
He maintained the state exco members do not have jurisdiction over the matter.
Instead, he said the Selangor deputy public prosecutor should refer the issue to court and obtain a court order to dispose of the seized Bibles in accordance to Section 407A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
In a follow up statement of clarification, Mohamad Adzib stressed the fate of the bibles should be decided in the courts.
He said they are not releasing the bibles as Jais "follows the provisions of law under the Criminal Procedures Code that provides for materials confiscated during investigations to be referred to court for a disposal order, and this has to be made by the deputy public prosecutor".
He said, "This is in line with the AG's directive who has asked for the disposal of the case materials to be made according to the provisions of the law."
"So let the courts decide whether there should be a disposal order or a return of the materials," he said.
Attorney-general (AG) Abdul Gani Patailon Wednesday said that the Attorney-General’s Chambers had decided to not proceed with the case.
"As for the seized books, the AG Chambers requests that Jais take further action in accordance with the law," he said.
Abdul Gani said that after reviewing Jais' investigation papers, the AG Chambers believes that Section 9(1)(a) of the Non-Islamic Religion (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 does not apply to the items seized.
"The statements (in the investigation paper) shows that the seized copies of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia and al-Kitab Berita Baik is a compilation of the Old and New Testaments, and is an essential text for the Christians," he said.
He added that the Home Ministry also told the AG Chambers that the holy books are not a security threat.
Mais: Still room to charge
Jais had raided BSM and seized over 300 copies of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia and Iban on grounds that they breach the enactment.
The enactment places a ban on non-Muslims using a list of words including 'Allah', which is used in the books to refer to God.
Mais maintained that it believes charges can still be brought over the bibles under the enactment.
“Mais and Jais - as authorities responsible for preserving the sanctity of Islam in Selangor - is very sensitive to the efforts of certain irresponsible parties to defile Islam by abusing certain words and names based on the Quran to make it easier to turn Muslims into apostates,” Mohamad Adzib said.
Mais, as the state's Islamic authority, has already clarified that it answers only to the sultan and not to the state nor federal government.
Likewise, it applies to Jais, the enforcement body that reports to Mais.
While Selangor MB Abdul Khalid Ibrahim has repeatedly been criticised from both sides of the political divide for not reining in the two bodies, Mais appears to believe otherwise, and rejectsstate interference.
It has reportedly even taken out a half-page advertisement in The Star to clarify that Jais is under absolutely no obligation to seek approval from the state government for any of their investigative activities.