Azmin dodges comment on playing 'no role' in return of seized Bibles

KUALA LUMPUR - Selangor Mentri Besar Azmin Ali has sidestepped an allegation that he played no role in the return of the 321 seized Bibles to the Christian community amid praises thrown towards him for finally resolving the issue.

When met by reporters after launching a state function at KL Festival City Mall here, Sunday, Azmin refused to elaborate, stressing that the matter has been resolved.

"No need for me to say anything. The matter has been resolved amicably," he said.

The Bibles were returned to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last Friday after they were held by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais), marking an end to almost a year-long controversy.

In January, Jais had raided BSM's premises in Damansara and seized the Bibles on grounds that it contravened a 1988 Selangor enactment, which prevents non-Muslims from using the word "Allah".

Azmin subsequently was praised by various quarters for his supposed role in securing the return of the Bibles, claiming that it was something his predecessor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim was not able to do.

However, it was reported that the Selangor palace was not amused over Azmin's supposed role, saying that the negotiations were between the palace and religious groups.

Quoting sources from the palace, the report said Azmin only sought an audience with Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah during the weekly meetings.

It was also reported that even when Khalid was the mentri besar, various approaches were made to BSM, Jais and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais).

No politicians were involved in the negotiations except for the "trusted aides" and friends of the Sultan who worked to prepare the ground to end the impasse, without the glare of publicity.