CFM Media Statement on JAIS Raid on BSM

26 Jalan Universiti, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia
Telephone / Fax : + 60 3 7957 1457


3 January 2014


The Christian Federation of Malaysia strongly condemns the raid conducted by officers from the Selangor State Islamic Department (JAIS), accompanied by the police, on the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) on Thursday afternoon 2 January 2014.

They seized 320 copies of the Al-Kitab, the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia, and 10 copies of the Bup Kudus, the Bible in the Iban language.  The President of BSM and the Office Manager were also arrested during the raid and brought to a nearby police station to have their statements recorded. Both were subsequently released on police bail but have been told to make themselves available to be interviewed by JAIS.
The raid, the seizure of copies of our sacred Scriptures and the arrest of two of BSM’s officers are clear violations of our constitutionally-mandated right to freedom of religion, as set out in Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
The unwarranted actions on the part of JAIS, aided and abetted by the police, are in absolute breach of the Cabinet’s 10-points solution announced in April 2011 which stated that Christians can import, print and distribute the Al-Kitab under certain conditions, all of which have been complied with by BSM.
We call upon the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet to uphold the word and commitment of the Federal Government to ensure that the rights of the Christian community under the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, are not violated and trampled upon by state-level religious officers with the complicity of the Federal police.
This unconscionable conduct on the part of JAIS and the Federal police is not just an authoritarian abuse of power and an act of harassment against Christians in Malaysia. It is also a blatant and aggressive attack on the moral and multi-cultural fabric of our society which values inter-communal harmony and utmost respect for the sanctity of each other’s religious beliefs and books.

To allow one religion to be able to monitor and regulate how another religion is to be practiced is a distasteful recipe for disaster, and a contradiction of the
moderation of which the Prime Minister speaks so frequently abroad.
JAIS, or for that matter any Muslim religious body or department,must not have any authority over another religion. It is as simple as that. Otherwise, the
constitutional protection of freedom of religion will mean absolutely nothing. We are disturbed by the fact that the actions by JAIS and the police yesterday are but the latest episode in a continuing saga of repeated violations of the freedom of religion of the non-Muslim community in Malaysia.
We are also deeply concerned and disturbed by the numerousreports of threats that have been made in both mainstream and alternative media that indicate
protests and demonstrations will be organised outside churches in Selangor.
We welcome the police statements warning Umno Selangor that their protests would contravene the Peaceful Assembly Act and that the police in Klang
would be present to ensure the safety and security of church members and the sanctity of the church as a place of worship.
We call upon the police and the relevant authorities to do their sworn duty to protect and defend the rights of the Christian minority in Malaysia and to ensure that the sanctity of our places of worship and thesafety of our members are not in any way violated. It is incumbent on the police and the relevant authorities to ensure that our places of worship are not desecrated or defiled and our worship services not disturbed by these protestors and
their threatened actions.
Finally, we call upon all Christians to be vigilant both in standing up for their constitutional rights and in prayer, and to remain calm in themidst of these trying times. We call on Almighty God for good sense and wisdomto ultimately prevail in this beloved land of ours.
Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng,
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
Christian Federation of Malaysia

Link to PDF Statement

CFM – Media Statement – JAIS raid on BSM – Jan 2013


Related Article from Malaysian Insider 3 Jan 2014

For Sarawak Christian Body, Jais Raid an Act of “treason”

BY Desmond Davidson

The raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious department (Jais) on the Bible Society of Malaysia is an act of “treason”, Datuk Bolly Lapok, chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak, said today.

“If an action assumes such arrogance that violates the Federal Constitution (that guarantees religion freedom) and pays total disregard to the Prime Minister’s directive (the 10-point Solution to address the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and other related issues) is not treason, I do not know what is,” Lapok, who’s also the Anglican Archbishop, said.

He added the dispute over the use of the word “Allah” is now “poisoning our fledging interreligious harmony and fracturing the fabric of our plural society”.

“In the face of the unrelenting dispute, a voice of reason among us has called for all citizens to respect honour and abide by the guarantee of religious freedom as enshrined in the Federal Constitution and which was agreed to when Sabah and Sarawak joined Malaya to form Malaysia.

“How Jais had the audacity to do what it did to the Bible Society Malaysia which resulted in the arrest of its two officials, seizure of 320 copies of AlKitab and 10 copies of Bup Kudus is shocking.”

Lapok said in the handling of such a sensitive issue, “it is imperative that we exercise maximum restraint and without undue prejudice”.

“Our action will either convict or commend us before men and God.

“Jais has much to answer for its action.”

In 10-point Solution agreed by the federal cabinet on April 2011, Bibles in all languages could be imported into the country. These Bibles could also be printed locally in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.

Christians form about 9% of Malaysia’s 29 million population.

Almost two-thirds of Christians in Malaysia are Bumiputera and are largely based in Sabah and Sarawak, where they routinely use Bahasa Malaysia and indigenous languages in their religious practices, including describing God as “Allah” in their prayers and holy book.

Besides the Bumiputera Christians from Sabah and Sarawak, some of whom have moved to the peninsula to live and work, Orang Asli Christians in the peninsula also typically use Bahasa Malaysia in their worship.

Meanwhile, DAP Sarawak vice-chairman Leon Jimat Donald said the “Allah” dispute has not only set the country’s race relations back another 50 years, it has practically thrashed Prime Minister’s Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s 1Malaysia concept,.

“Who is listening to Najib and his 1Malaysia? The misguided people in Jais? His ministers in Umno?

“Looks like Najib’s efforts is thrashed by people who are not doing anything good to their race and religion,” Donald said.

He believed the raid yesterday was deliberate “to distract people from the bread and butter issues” that are affecting the people.

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. When all reasonable explanations are gone, politicians or fanatics love displays of patriotism/holier than thou attitudes, especially when a government is in trouble, or trying to divert the people’s attention.” – January 3, 2014.



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