Selangor MCA: Return Bibles to prove sincerity

A priest and altar boys walk down the aisle after prayers were conducted during a mass service inside the church of Our Lady of Lourdes at Klang, outside Kuala Lumpur.

PETALING JAYA - Selangor MCA said if the Selangor Government has any measure of sincerity, it will release without further delay, the Bibles seized early this year by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais).

State MCA deputy chairman Datuk Donald Lim Siang Chai said the state executive council or the Mentri Besar could order the immediate release of the Bibles seized on Jan 2.

"As long as the scripture complies with Article 11(4) of the Federal Constitution, there should be no reason for Jais to continue detaining the holy books since the department comes under the jurisdiction of the state government," he said in a statement here yesterday.

Jais had confiscated 321 Bibles in Malay and Iban from the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) over alleged infringement of the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 that prohibits non-Muslims from using the term "Allah".

The use of the word "Allah" will still be restricted (to Muslims) if the Bibles are kept by Jais, said Lim, commenting on a report quoting state executive councillor Sallehin Mulkhy as saying non-Muslims in Selangor could use the term "Allah" as long as they do not use it to propagate their religion to Muslims.

Sallehin reportedly said this in the state assembly on Monday when replying to a query by state Opposition Leader Datuk Shamsudin Lias on whether the state government had taken steps to address the Allah issue.

Last month, Sallehin reportedly said most of the Bibles were expected to be returned to the BSM and that Jais was keeping a few for investigation.

Earlier this month, state executive councillor Elizabeth Wong was reported as saying the state government would write to the Attorney-General requesting for the release of the Bibles.