Bishop slams bible seizure denial as lies

  • Putrajaya submits early report on flight MH370, but won’t publicise it, says CNN
    Putrajaya submits early report on flight MH370, but won’t publicise it, says CNN

    Putrajaya has sent its preliminary report on the disappearance of flight MH370, but has yet to release it publicly, CNN reported today, despite insisting that it has nothing to hide. “It just adds fuel to the fire – which is like a furnace now – of disbelief, particularly in China, as to what is going on,” Geoffrey Thomas, managing director of... …

  • It’s Obama’s right to see Anwar or not, says Dr Mahathir – Bernama
    It’s Obama’s right to see Anwar or not, says Dr Mahathir – Bernama

    Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was up to the president of the United States whether to see opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or not. "It is his (Obama) right, up to him who he wants to see, he does not even want to see me, a former prime minister," Dr Mahathir (pic) told reporters in Putrajaya today. He was... …

  • Karpal’s Bukit Gelugor seat will stay DAP’s, analysts say
    Karpal’s Bukit Gelugor seat will stay DAP’s, analysts say

    GEORGE TOWN, April 24 — Analysts believe that Barisan Nasional (BN) does not stand a fighting chance in Bukit Gelugor, and even said it may not be worth the ruling pact’s time to contest the seat... …

  • Tuhan Harun case postponed again to July 22 – Bernama
    Tuhan Harun case postponed again to July 22 – Bernama

    The Lower Shariah Court today postponed again the case of leader of the “Tuhan Harun” deviant sect, Harun Mat Saat, to July 22. Judge Abdul Wahid Mohd Ali set the date after hearing the application from Pahang Islamic Religious Department deputy prosecutor Mohd Fahmi Abd Jalil that he needed more time to examine the legal representation... …

  • What if flight MH370 is never found?
    What if flight MH370 is never found?

    Despite assurances from Malaysia and Australia that the search will continue for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the lack of significant leads after almost seven weeks are leading many to ask: What if the jetliner that disappeared over the southern Indian Ocean is never found? At the start of the massive international search effort, such a... …

  • New law to give Sarawak natives freedom in purchasing customary rights land
    New law to give Sarawak natives freedom in purchasing customary rights land

    Bumiputera from Sarawak could eventually buy Native Customary Rights (NCR) land outside their ethnic group or community when the state amends its Land Code in November. Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem (pic, right), in disclosing the government's intention to table the amendment at its Budget sitting, said with the amendment the Iban, for... …

By Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — Bishop Ng Moon Hing, who heads the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), has denounced as lies a reported home ministry denial that it seized and locked up at Port Klang 5,000 Malay bibles shipped in three years ago from Indonesia.

The imported bibles have become a source of controversy because they contain the word “Allah”, which the majority Malay-Muslim community here believes cannot be used by non-Muslims to refer to their deities.

On Wednesay, national news agency Bernama reported the ministry’s clarification that the bibles actually had been refused entry into Malaysia for not fulfilling the ministry’s requirements.

Citing the ministry statement, Bernama said a letter of refusal dated June 26, 2010 had been sent to the importer; however, the importer had yet to claim the cargo.

When contacted by The Malaysian Insider, Ng demanded to know who had made the statement.

“Who said it?” he questioned.

When told it was a statement reported by Bernama, and no name had been mentioned, Ng said: “Well, they’re lying.”

The ministry was responding to the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship’s (NECF) claim that the ministry had conducted the seizure.

NECF secretary-general Sam Ang, writing in its bulletin, claimed the ministry had confiscated and detained the bibles in Port Klang since the year before last, and continued to hold them although the Cabinet had approved the release of the consignment.

 The bishop said the CFM, the umbrella body representing over 90 per cent of all churches in the country — covering the Catholic, Protestant and evangelical segments — has documents to back their claim and called the ministry’s bluff on the issue.

Copies of two letters, sent by the ministry’s publication and Al-Quran text control division to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) which had imported the Malay bibles, were also provided to The Malaysian Insider.

In the first letter, dated June 10 last year, a senior home ministry official wrote that the BSM’s appeal letter had been considered and the ministry in Putrajaya had decided to allow the release.

“Tuan diminta berhubung dengan pejabat ini untuk mengambil bahan penerbitan tersebut sebelum 25 Jun 2010 dari tarikh surat ini dikeluarkan. Semua penerbitan yang disita dan ditahan dibawah Seksyen 9A, 17 dan 18 ini akan terlucut hak menurut Seksyen 19(2) AMCP 1984 selepas tempoh 25 Jun 2010. Sekiranya tuan gagal berbuat sedemikian, penerbitan tuan akan dilupuskan mengikut apa-apa cara yang diputuskan oleh kementerian menurut peruntukan Akta yang sama,” it stated.

[In English, the letter reads: “You are requested to contact this office to collect the publications before June 25 2010 from the date this letter is issued. All publications gazetted and detained under Section 9A, 17 and 18 will be terminated according to Section 19(2) of the Printing Press and Publications 1984 after the period of June 25 2010. If you fail to do so, your publications will be terminated in whichever manner decided by the ministry according to the provision of the same Act .”]

Ng, who is also head of the Anglican diocese in the peninsula, said the Bible Society and CFM representatives have been seeking help from various Cabinet ministers, to no avail.

“They give us their assurance that they will look into it,” Ng said, adding he had heard the phrase repeated countless times.

However, things changed after church leaders sought for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intervene directly.

Ng said he had spoken personally with Najib a few times about Christian dilemma over the Malay bibles stuck at the ports in Klang and Kuching, including at last year’s Christmas tea party hosted by the Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam.

“After we met the prime minister, the ruling was reversed very quickly,” the bishop said.

The Malaysian Insider understands a consignment of 10,000 Malay bibles locked up in Kuching were released to the importer, a local branch of international Christian group, The Gideons, the same day.

The 5,000 held in Port Klang, however, remained under the home ministry’s lock and key.

Ng said the PM very likely was not given the full picture and was not aware there was another shipment of 5,000 bibles imported by BSM.

“He sounded surprised. If you are the prime minister and were told one side had been released, you’d think that’s the end of the matter. Case closed,” Ng said, in Najib’s defence.

The bishop related that the PM seemed surprised when he was reminded about the Port Klang shipment and promised he would look into it.

But three months have passed since that private conversation on December 25 and the Christian groups have yet to get word from home ministry officials to collect their languishing cargo.

Instead, CFM received another report that a third consignment of Malay bibles, this time for 30,000 copies costing US$26,000 (RM78,000) meant for the Sarawak Christian market, have been carted off from Kuching port to the home ministry’s local office and put under lock.

Fed-up and angry at the unresponsive treatment from the Najib administration, CFM rebuked the PM in an open letter last week, signalling that Christians are likely to increase pressure in other ways to protect their religious rights as enshrined in the Federal Constitution, the highest law of the land.

“As long as this matter is not resolved, we have no choice,” Ng said.

“This is the Christian holy book. If Christians are not allowed to read the holy book in their own language, then we can’t talk about religious freedoms,” he added, referring to the Bumiputera Christians whom he said formed the biggest segment of believers in the country.

Christians make up close to 10 per cent of Malaysia’s 28 million population.

Its biggest bases are in Sarawak and Sabah, where the national language, Bahasa Malaysia, is used in churches to preach to the multi-ethnic congregation who each have a distinctive tribal language.

But evangelist churches there, notably the Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB), have spread their wings and crossed the South China Sea to preach to the growing number of Sarawakians and Sabahans who are settling down in the peninsula after furthering their studies or finding work here.

The bishop stressed that there was not only one type of language that could be used for the bible and Christians “cannot be asked to change to another holy book”.

Follow @YahooMalaysia on LINE for daily news updates.

Comments on Yahoo pages are subject to our link to Comments Guidelines. You are responsible for any content that you post. Yahoo is not responsible or liable in any way for comments posted by its users. Yahoo does not in any way endorse or support comments made by its users.

  • MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer The Malaysian Insider
    MH370 passenger’s partner tells of strange email from sacked Fox officer

    The partner of an American passenger aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has spoken about how a Fox executive who was recently sacked by the news station had contacted her offering to raise funds on her behalf. Sarah Bajc, whose partner Philip Wood is among the 239 people on board the missing plane, told the Sydney Morning Herald... …

  • My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh The Malaysian Insider
    My last moments with Pa: Ramkarpal Singh

    A week after the tragic crash that took the lives of veteran lawyer and politician Karpal Singh and his personal aide, Michael Cornelius, his son Ramkarpal recounts the final hours with his father that fateful day. This is his story, as told to V. Anbalagan, assistant news editor. “My parents (Karpal and Gurmit) had gone to Pantai Hospital... …

  • In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle Associated Press
    In Disney's shadow, homeless families struggle

    KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — When they moved from Georgia to the theme park playground of central Florida four years ago, Anthony and Candice Johnson found work at a barbecue restaurant and a 7-Eleven. Their combined salaries nevertheless fell short of what they needed to rent an apartment, so the couple and their two children have instead been hopping among cheap motel rooms along U.S. 192. …