Seizure of bibles in line with dept's SOP, says state councillor

SHAH ALAM: The Selangor Islamic Religious Department’s (Jais) raid on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) is not illegal and did not breach any law, according to state executive councillor for Islamic Affairs Sallehen Mukhyi.

He said the raid and seizure of 321 bibles in Malay and Iban from BSM’s office last Thursday was in accordance with the department’s standard operating procedure (SOP).

Sallehen said the raid was also carried out in line with provisions stipulated under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propa­gation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

(Section 11 of the Enactment states that “all offences and cases under this Enactment shall be deemed to be seizable offences and seizable cases for the purpose of the Criminal Procedure Code.)

“It was in line with Jais’ current SOP but we will fine-tune the SOP,” he said after meeting Catholic newsletter The Herald’s editor Father Lawrence Andrew.

He said under the amended SOP, the state government must be informed before any raid.

Sallehen said Jais director Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad and the department’s enforcement chief had explained to him that the raid was carried out following public complaints of alleged proselytisation.

He stressed that the state government was fully behind Selangor ruler Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah’s decree prohibiting non-Muslims from using the term Allah in their worship.

Sallehen also said he had made several proposals during the meeting, including the setting up of a platform for inter-religious dialogues.

“Sensitive issues must not be politicised or used for political mileage,” he said.

Father Lawrence said whatever he had stated was based on Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which provided for the freedom of religion.

“Each religion has the right to manage its own matters. One cannot come in and tell another what to do,” he said, calling for a peaceful approach towards the issue.

“Let’s be brothers and sisters. Let’s build bridges. Our country is about muhibbah, friendship and goodwill,” said Father Lawrence.

In Penang, a Buddhist monk urged Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Kha-lid Ibrahim to make a stand on the issue.

Rev Dr Sumana Siri, founder of the Buddhist Realists’ Centre in Penang, said Khalid had not responded clearly to the issue.