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4/7/2011 Malaysia (TheChristianPost) – The Government of Malaysia has authorised the import of the Bible in all languages into the country and its local printing. Authorities also assured concerned Christians that there is no requirement for any stamp or serial number on imported Bibles. It is part of a 10-point solution to the controversy over Malay-language Bibles.

The Government reiterated its commitment to work with Christian and other religious groups to address inter-religious issues. To expedite the Government’s efforts, the Prime Minister will be meeting representatives of the Christian Federation of Malaysia ‘soon’ to discuss the way forward, authorities said in a statement.

Christian cabinet ministers will also meet on a regular basis with representatives of the various Christian groups. The aim is to discuss the issues of these groups and work with the relevant ministries and the PM to resolve them.

Authorities hope that their decision on the import and local printing of Bibles will be welcomed by Christian groups in the country.

This was highlighted in a statement provided to the media by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, on the solution.

The Government announced that no conditions are to be placed on the importation and local printing of Bibles in all languages including Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia for Sabah and Sarawak. This is in recognition of the large Christian community in these states.

There is a condition for Bibles imported into Peninsula Malaysia or printed there.

These Bibles must have the words ‘Christian Publication’ and the cross sign printed on the front covers. This decision takes into account the interest of the larger Muslim community in Peninsula Malaysia.

The Government also announced that no prohibitions or restrictions should be placed on people travelling between Sabah and Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia with their Bibles.

To ensure proper implementation of the cabinet decision, the Ketua Setiausaha of the Home Ministry has issued a directive on the Bible. Officers who fail to comply will be subjected to disciplinary action under the General Orders.

All relevant civil servants will be given a comprehensive briefing by top officials including the Attorney General. This is to ensure good understanding and proper implementation of the directive.

The Government has also permitted two Bible importers to collect 35,100 Bibles impounded in Kuching and Port Klang. They may do so free-of-charge.

Authorities have assured parties involved of reimbursement. The statement noted that the same offer is available to the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM). BSM had already collected its 5,100 imported Bibles last week.

The Government decided on the 10-point solution after having engaged in dialogue with Christian groups in the nation. This was aimed at looking into their specific requests on the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and other religious issues.

At the same time, the authorities took into account the polarity of views of the different religious groups.

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