3/18/2011 Malaysia (AsiaNews) – The Christian community said today that it is appalled by what it says is the Najib administration’s desecration of 5,100 holy books shipped in from Indonesia and has flat out refused to collect the Port Klang shipment.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM), which represents over 90 per cent of churches in the country, insisted that Putrajaya immediately drop the conditions imposed for the release of two shipments of Malay Bibles totalling 35,000 copies seized from Port Klang and Kuching port.
Last night, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) was told its shipment of 5,100 Alkitab—as the Malay Bibles are called—were stamped with the Home Ministry’s official seal, as per the conditions imposed for the release issued two days ago, without its prior permission.
The first requires the importers to stamp directly on the cover of each of the 35,000 copies the following words: “Peringatan: ‘Al Kitab Berita Baik’ ini untuk kegunaan penganut agama Kristian sahaja. Dengan perintah Menteri Dalam Negeri” (In English: “Reminder: This ‘Al Kitab Berita Baik’ is for the use of Christians only. By order of the Home Minister.”)
The cover of the Bibles would be stamped with the department’s official seal and dated as well.
The second condition requires the importers to stamp a serial number on each copy as if to demarcate copies from the released shipment and to enable the book to be traced back to the port of import.
“This means that the Bahasa Malaysia Bible is now treated as a restricted item, and the Word of God has been made subject to the control of man. This is wholly offensive to Christians,” the CFM said in a strongly worded statement today signed by its chairman, Bishop Ng Moon Hing.
The umbrella body refuted government claims it had reached a compromise, saying it had never agreed that its holy books should be endorsed to say, “It is only for Christians”.
“Any person who respects the Holy Scriptures of any religion would be appalled by this action. We will never accede to any desecration of the Bible since the Word of God to us is sacred,” it said.