SOPs for Sabah churches to bring in religious material

SOPs for Sabah churches to bring in religious material
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup.

KOTA KINABALU - A set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the relevant authorities is being drawn up to enable Sabah churches to bring in religious material into the state without hindrance, Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said.

The Minister in the Prime Minister's Department said the SOPs were for use by various authorities, such as the Customs and police.

"We are discussing with these authorities and the Home Ministry and we hope the SOPs will be a reality soon," he told reporters after handing over 130 religious books and 290 compact discs to the Protestant Church of Sabah (PCS) here yesterday.

The books and CDs were seized by Customs enforcers at KL International Airport after they were brought into the country from Medan, Indonesia, by PCS church worker Maklin Masiau on Oct 25. He was reportedly travelling to Sabah and was on transit at KLIA when he was detained and questioned on the material.

Kurup said the Customs checks were made not because of the ban on the use of the word "Allah" in the material but because the officers had noticed one piece of bulky luggage and wanted to inspect it further.

Kurup said he too had personally experienced checks by the Customs, adding that this was a normal situation.

"We hope that with the SOPs, there will be no more hiccups for churches to bring in this material," he added.

Present at the event were state assembly deputy speaker Datuk Johnson Tee and representatives of various Sabah churches.

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