CFM Responds To MAIS Statement Issued During Recent Return Of BM Bibles To Bible Society Of Malaysia

The Christian Federation of Malaysia has taken time to study carefully the ramifications of the MAIS’ statement (signed letter in English from MAIS) which was released on 14 November 2014 together with the return of the Bibles seized by JAIS from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

The return was enabled by the goodwill of DYMM Sultan Selangor, the Mentri Besar of Selangor (initiated by his predecessor) and other individuals. CFM appreciates the return of the Bibles but also supports the recent statement by the BSM on the problems that have surfaced.

CFM views with great concern the final paragraph of the MAIS’ letter which reads “… and hope that the distribution as well as the printing of Bibles that contain the word "Allah" is no longer done in the State of Selangor, as it is an offence under the Non-Islamic Religious Enactment (Control Development Among Muslims) 1988.”

This blanket ban on the use of the Bahasa Malaysia Bibles in the State of Selangor is unrealistic, given that there are thousands of Sabahans and Sarawakians who reside and work in the state of Selangor besides the thousands of West Malaysian Christians who are conversant only in our national language.

Both the (then) Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur of the Catholic Church (on 21 October 2013) and the CFM statement (dated 14 October 2013) made the clarification that the use of the BM Bibles containing the use of the word "Allah" will continue, as will Christian services conducted for these Bahasa Malaysia-speaking citizens, as has been done peacefully without hindrance over the past few troubled years.

Forcing the discontinuation of the use of the BM Bibles by Malaysian Christians and those ministering to them would go against the Federal Constitution provision of Article 11 on Freedom of Religion, in which Clause (3) (a) states that “every religious group has the right to manage its own religious affairs”.

It would be a gross injustice to Malaysian Christians whose only language for worship and for their Holy Bible is Bahasa Malaysia which has been used by them for centuries (see CFM Fact Sheet on “When, Why and How the word "Allah" is used by Christians” in our website www.cfmmsia.org).

With the recent assurances from the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Malaysia (on 31 October 2014) that their 10-point solution will be made clear to all civil servants and the Prime Minister more recently (on 14 November 2014) attributing to civil servants the "problem" of the "Allah issue" and intimating that seizure and such curtailment are not part of the solution promised in a letter from the Prime Minister to CFM (dated 11 April 2011), it is imperative that both the Federal and state governments work speedily to ensure that the 10-point solution is indeed a solution and not a sham which causes unnecessary confusion and conflict.

[signed]

Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng
Chairman and the Executive Committee
The Christian Federation of Malaysia

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