Hands Off our Bibles

CHRISTIAN FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA

(PERSEKUTUAN KRISTIAN MALAYSIA)

Address: No. 10, Jalan 11/9, 46200 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, Malaysia

Telephone: (03) 7957 1278, (03) 7957 1463, Fax: (03) 7957 1457

Email: cchurchm@streamyx.com

PRESS STATEMENT

Hands Off our Bibles

The Christian Federation of Malaysia registers its protest in the strongest terms, at the action of a Custom Officer at LCCT, who confiscated 32 English Bibles belonging to a Christian, who was bringing it from Manila for use in her church.

The reason given by the Custom Officer is that since it is the Bible, it needs to be cleared by the Internal Security Ministry’s Control Division of Publications and Al-Quran Texts.

Since when has English Bibles become a “security issue” in our country?

Why is it, the said Control Division is amassing such rights to itself that allow Muslim civil bureaucrats to decide for Christians what religious material they can read, or bring into the country?

We have received many complaints from Christians being told to hand over religious books to custom officers at various checkpoints in the country. Now they even want our Bibles!

The Bible is our holy and sacred book. We will not comply with any directive from government or its agencies that infringe on our right to use our sacred book and other Christian literature.

We appreciate that the Deputy Minister of Internal Security, YB Dato’ Fu Ah Kiow has taken action to have the Bibles returned to the person concerned, explaining that the Customs officer had no such authority to seize the Bibles.

But in view of the fact that this is not an isolated case, we call upon YB Dato’ Fu to come up with a directive restraining all government agencies from future harassment especially by the internal security enforcement officers.

In the run-up to the National Elections, it is important for the churches to be convinced that the policy of the Barisan Nasional guarantees religious freedom and would not tolerate any actions that undermine the religious rights of all citizens of Malaysia.

(signed)

Bishop Dr. Paul Tan Chee Ing., SJ

Chairman, Executive Committee

Christian Federation of Malaysia

5th February 2008

About Sivin Kit

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