Bahasa Bibles detained - again, and again
Media statement by
the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)
on the Detention of Bahasa Malaysia Bibles
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) is greatly disillusioned, fed up and angered by the repeated detention of Bibles written in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia. This time yet again at the Port of Kuching in Sarawak.
A total fo 30,000 copies of the Perjanjian Baru, Mazmur dan Amsal” i.e. the “New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs” are currently being withheld.
This is notwithstanding that the government in its attempt to to justify its position against the use of the Allah" in the Alkitab, the government had given the assurance that the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, will be freely available, at least in Sabah and Sarawak.
Since March 2009, all attempts to import the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, i.e. the Alkitab, whether through Port Klang or the Port of Kuching, have been thwarted.
The previous consignment of 5,000 copies of the Alkitab imported in March 2009 is still being held by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Port Klang. This is despite repeated appeals which resulted in the Prime Minister making a decision to release the Alkitab held in Port Klang in December 2009 which was reported to CFM leaders by several cabinet ministers and their aides.
In absolute disregard of this decision, the 5,000 copies of the Alkitab remain detained. The Prime Minister when told about the continued detention of these 5,000 Bibles at a hi-tea event last Christmas expressed surprise that the order to release the same held in Port Klang had not been implemented. However, nothing has been done by the authorities to ensure their release.
Prior to March 2009, there were several incidents where shipments of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia were detained. Each time tedious steps had to be taken to secure their release. It would appear as if the authorities are waging a continuous, surreptitious and systematic programme against Christians in Malaysia to deny them access to the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia.
Malaysian Christians, many of whom have grown up with Bahasa Malaysia as their principal medium of communication as a result of the government education policies, must have access to Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia in order to read, comprehend and practise their faith.
The freedom of religion guaranteed as part of the fundamental liberties under our Federal Constitution is rendered meaningless if adherents to a religion are denied access to their religious texts in a language that they can understand.
It is an affront to them that they are being deprived of their sacred Scriptures. Many are wondering why their Scriptures are considered a threat to national security. All these actions in relation to the detention of the Bibles continue to hurt the Malaysian Christian community.
We would ask how the government transformation programme can be successfully implemented if civil servants can blatantly refuse to obey the Prime Minister’s order? Is the government powerless to act against these “little Napoleons” who substitute their own interests and agenda in place of the Prime Minister’s directives?
We call upon the government to act now and prove their sincerity and integrity in dealing with the Malaysian Christian community on this and all other issues which we have been raising with them since the formation of the Christian Federation of Malaysia in 1985.
As an immediate step, we insist upon the immediate release of all Bibles which have been detained.
Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
Christian Federation of Malaysia