Updated: Saturday November 15, 2014 MYT 11:02:35 AM
Masing: ‘The Bibles are not the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s property.’
KUCHING: Sarawak leaders have welcomed the release of 351 Bibles seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia’s premises in January and hoped that such seizures will not be repeated.
Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president Tan Sri James Masing said he was pleased that the Bibles had been returned to their rightful owner.
“I hope it will never happen again. After all, the Bibles are not the Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (Jais) property and were illegally taken.
“The Attorney-General said so and the Prime Minister said so in the 10-point agreement prior to the 13th general election,” he said.
State PKR chairman Baru Bian applauded the action taken by the Selangor state government to return the Bibles, saying it was exemplary of the new Mentri Besar’s leadership.
Bian: ‘A blanket restriction on the use of Bibles in Selangor is unconstitutional.’
“I hope this will be taken as a lesson. In the first place, there should not be any seizure of such books from the premises of the Bible Society, Christian bookshops or churches, especially where there is no evidence that these books are being used to evangelise Muslims.
“We shouldn’t allow such seizures to happen in future,” he said.
However, Baru was concerned about the Selangor Islamic Religious Council’s (Mais) statement that the returned Bibles were not to be distributed in Selangor and were only to be used by Christians in Sarawak.
He said there were many Sarawakians studying and working in Peninsular Malaysia who had used the Alkitab all their lives, as well as many churches that conducted their services in Bahasa Malaysia.
“A blanket restriction on the use of Bibles in Selangor is unconstitutional. The Selangor enactment considers it an offence only if the material is used for evangelising Muslims.
“There is no offence if they are used in the church among Christians. The statement by Mais is out of place and unlawful,” he said.