SHAH ALAM, April 7 — The Selangor Islamic Department’s (Jais) seizure of 300 bibles was a necessary move to prevent apostasy among Muslims, Selangor Barisan Nasional (BN) state representatives said today.
State opposition leader Datuk Shamsuddin Lias said all BN assemblymen were in full support of Jais’ actions against the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), and it had saved Muslims from being misled by “devious teachings.”
He told reporters that BN assemblymen had submitted two motions — one on supporting Jais’ raid on BSM and another on the exclusivity of the usage of “Allah” for Muslims to be debated in the Selangor state assembly, but both motions were rejected by state Speaker Hannah Yeoh.
“We are disappointed that it has been rejected, this is matter of public interest and has been a polemic in the media,” Shamsuddin said.
The Sungai Burong state assemblyman said he will raise the matter during his speech on Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s royal address later this week.
“We are in full support of efforts to save Muslims, deviant teachings are on the rise,” Shamsuddin added.
Last week, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim told a press conference that the state government has decided not to interfere with the ongoing controversy, and that BSM would have to officially write to Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail if it wants the holy books returned.
He said the state executive council decided that the onus falls entirely on BSM to “show their determination and desire” to recover the bibles confiscated by the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) over the use of the word “Allah” in the translations.
A 1988 state enactment prohibits non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words and phrases in their faiths, including “Allah” as part of measures to control the propagation of other religions to Muslims.
Previously, The Malay Mail Online reported that Jais was expected to return “most” of the bibles seized in the January 2 raid, save for a few for further investigations.
The department was also said to have been in consultation with the A-G on whether to press charges against BSM over the use of the word “Allah” in the 300 bibles and whether the books should be returned to the society.
Besides Selangor, nine other states have similar enactments banning non-Muslim usage of “Allah” and other Arabic words, except Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and the Federal Territories.
BSM had said that they distribute most of their Malay-language bibles to churches in Sabah and Sarawak, but also cater to Malay-speaking Christians in the peninsula, including the Orang Asli and those who come from East Malaysia.