Don’t Drag The Courts Into Bible Issue, Says Constitutional Lawyer

A constitutional lawyer has criticised the Selangor government for its stand in getting a court order before releasing the Bibles seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia, saying that it was "wrong and irresponsible".

Lawyer Tommy Thomas also said that the state government's refusal to act displayed a weak and indecisive leadership. He explained that since the seizure of the Bibles was an executive decision, the return of the holy books must be done by the executive itself, without having to drag in the courts.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) had said they did not want to return the Bibles despite Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail announcing that Jais had erred when they raided BSM six months ago.

Instead, Mais reportedly said they were asking the deputy public prosecutor to seek a court ruling to dispose of the Bibles.

Yesterday, the Sultan of Selangor advised Jais to refer the decision whether to return or dispose of the 321 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia (AlKitab) and Iban-language (Bup Kudus) it seized, to the state public prosecutor.

Tommy said in a statement today that the state government was responsible for the stand taken by Jais or Mais as these agencies all come under the state.

"It must be recalled that the Bibles were seized by Jais, a Selangor government agency, and therefore part of the Selangor executive," he added.

As such, Tommy called on the state government to immediately release the Bibles.

"There is no reason to drag in the courts, and the Selangor government should not pass the buck to the judges.

"Going to court is an abdication of its duty as the executive branch," he added.

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