Seized Bahasa Indonesia bibles still held by customs dept Pauline Puah
June 6, 05 2:25pm
Two years after 1,000 Bahasa Indonesia bibles were seized in Port Klang, they remain in the possession of the customs department there.
It is learnt that the seized bibles were imported from Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia, Jakarta. No official reason has been given for the seizure.
The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), which imported the books, confirmed the situation when contacted today but would not elaborate.
Secretary-general Joel Ng would only say: "What I can say is the BSM is concerned over the matter and has referred it to the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)."
BSM works with other mission agencies to translate Christian scriptures into Bahasa Malaysia and other languages.
When contacted, CFM’s newly-elected chairperson Bishop Dr Paul Tan declined to comment on the issue, while custom officials could not be reached for verification.
CFM - an umbrella body comprising the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia and the Catholic Church of Malaysia - and Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism are trying to secure the release of the bibles.
In April, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said in Parliament that the government does not allow the distribution of bibles in the Malay language as this could be construed as a move to spread Christianity among Muslims.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi later clarified that there is no ban on bibles published in the Malay language. However, he said these must be stamped ‘not for Muslims’.
In 2003, the government had attempted to ban bibles published in the Iban language but revoked its decision after a public outcry.