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Conditional bible release ‘simply politics’, says Bian

The Home Ministry's move to slam two pre-conditions
to the release of the Bahasa Malaysia bible is
'unconstutional and illegal' says Sarawak PKR.
KUCHING:  The decision to release 30,000 copies of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the bible, is a political exercises to please Sarawakian Christians and a sign that Umno leaders are “not too certain that the release is altogether legal”, said Sarawak PKR chairman Baru Bian.
“Let’s make no mistake that all these are mere politicking gestures to appease the huge number of Christians in Sarawak as the state election looms,” said Bian, who added that the bibles’ release was no reflection of the rights enshrined under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

Bian was commenting on the release of the 30,000 copies of the said bibles subject to two conditions imposed by the Home Ministry.

The conditions are that each copy of the bible be chopped or stamped with “For Christians Only” and that each of the copies be stamped with serial numbers.

Bian, who is himself a Christian, said that the two conditions proposed by the ministry officers are unwarranted, unlawful, illegal and unconstitutional.

“That such conditions imposed are deemed a restriction and harassment of our religious freedom in Malaysia and a blatant misuse and abuse of powers by the relevant authorities.
“No one should be allowed to dictate to the Christians as to how they should use their Holy Scriptures, just as no other holy books of other faiths should be tampered with,” he asserted.
“Lastly, if the government is serious and sincere about resolving this issue once and for all, then they should not only release these bibles but must withdraw their appeal in the Herald case and admit their unlawful act in the SIB’s case, both pending in court,” he said.

The consignee of the 30,000 copies of BM bibles were seized or impounded at the Kuching Port since January this year.

Bian said that in the midst of a seemingly compromising gesture from the BN government in line with what they called the 1Malaysia spirit, it had been announced that the 30,000 copies of BM bibles were now purportedly released.

“From the newspaper, I sensed that some of the BN leaders were not too sure whether the order to release the bibles was according to the law or not.

“In the meantime, some naïve Christians applauded and celebrated the announcement without knowing the conditions imposed on the purported release.

“I strongly sense that the BN leaders, in particular Umno leaders, are not too certain that the release is legal.

“They are saying that this is permissible because Sarawak has no official religion and no state enactment that prohibits the use of the word “Allah”, he said.

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