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ICC Note: The guidelines would severely limit the legal importation of Malay-language Bibles onto the Malaysian peninsula, which many Christians believe runs counter to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib’s pledge in 2011 to allow holy books to be distributed nationwide.  

Jennifer Gomez for the Malaysian Insider

05/28/2015 Malaysia (UCA News)

 

A new set of guidelines being proposed by Malaysia’s government could see Malay-language Bibles with the word “Allah” being barred from Peninsular Malaysia, going against the pledge by Prime Minister Najib Razak in April 2011 to allow the holy books to be distributed nationwide.

The draft standard operating procedure (SOP) was unveiled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Joseph Kurup, to Christian leaders in Sabah and Sarawak in April, and to the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) on May 18.

The general principle in the new rules is that Christian publications with the word “Allah” cannot be imported into Peninsular Malaysia, and if brought in, can only pass through with Sabah and Sarawak as their final destinations.

The draft rules also state that “Al-Kitab”, the Malay-language Bible, can be brought into the peninsula from Sabah and Sarawak but only for personal use, possibly in recognition of the many Bumiputera Christians from the two states who live, work or study in the peninsula.

This draft, if made effective, would mean that the Malay-language Bible cannot be imported directly into Peninsular Malaysia, and can only be brought by Christians from Sarawak and Sabah for their private use.

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