ICC Note: Parti Cinta Sabah (*Love Sabah Party), a Malaysian political party has criticized the officers from the Home Ministry for telling church officials how to design books for Christian teaching. In the past, the Ministry has visited the church office, but this was the first time that the church was instructed not to use certain terminologies and change design. Even though Malaysian Constitution guarantees religious freedom, the recent event shows that Christians and other religious minorities often face interference from authorities.
11/8/2017 Malaysia (Daily Express) – Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS) criticised a recent incident where officers from the Home Ministry allegedly told officials of a church how to design a book meant for its congregation.
PCS President Wilfred Mojilip Bumburing said the four officers not only inspected denominational books published by the church to be used in the church services, but also went on to instruct church officials on other things.
He did not name the church.
“I was told that these officers told the church officials not to use the four terminologies, namely Allah, Baitullah, Kaabah and Sholat.
“Furthermore, they advised the church officials on how to design a book on christian teachings and what font size to use on the cover design,” he said.
Bumburing told FMT that the book was first printed in 2000 but the renewal of the permit was waived under the new amended Printing Presses and Publications Act, although the church was still required to state the last permit number issued in 2013.
The 160-page book with about 55,000 words did not use the words Baitullah, Kaabah and Sholat although there were “one or two” instances where they missed editing out the word “Allah” and replacing it with “Tuhan”, which the officers noticed, he said.
Bumburing, who is also Tamparuli assemblyman, said the church officials actually did not want to make a fuss about it and intended to just go along with the ministry’s directives.
“I was told that the ministry had visited the office before on routine inspection, but this was the first time the church was told about the cover design and the font size to use,” he said.