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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 14, 2014:

Although MCA welcomed the return of the seized Malay and Iban Bibles, it is worried about the conditions imposed by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais), which include barring the Bibles from being distributed in Selangor.

MCA’s Syariah Law and Policy Implementation Special Task Force chairman Gan Ping Sieu said it did not solve the problem of how those whose first language was Bahasa Malaysia would be able to refer to Bibles.

The former Deputy Youth and Sports Minister then urged all state governments to look into relevant provisions in their respective enactments to enable Malay-speaking Christian Bumiputera and native Sabahans and Sarawakians to have access to Malay or native-language Bibles.

“Similarly, we must also have an avenue where Sikhs may freely use their holy book – the Guru Granth Sahib — and for the Hindus — the Veda — which contain references to their Almighty as ‘Allah’,” he said in a statement.

On the handing over of the Bibles today, Gan said Selangor Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali outshone his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, the former exco members and “exalted” Selangor economic adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“They merely sat on the issue despite the highly charged outrage and ensuing controversy, more so, when the Attorney-General found there was no grounds for prosecution.”

He went on to urge Azmin to learn from his predecessor’s mistakes and prevent such high-handed raid or crackdown by Jais on non-Muslim places of worship or centres.

Gan also said that the occasion was more meaningful as it was carried out at Istana Alam Shah in the presence of Selangor’s Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah and it was done on a Friday, when Muslims observed their prayers at mosques nationwide.

“It shows Tuanku’s inclusive and moderate approach, besides leading the path towards harmonious interfaith relationships.”

Earlier today, the 321-seized Malay and Iban language Bibles were returned to the Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS).

The scripture was seized in January for containing the word “Allah” which was deemed exclusive for Muslims.

Apart from the Selangor Sultan, the event was also witnessed by Azmin, Selangor Mufti Datuk Mohd Tamyez Abdul Wahid and Jais director Ahmad Zaharin Mohd Saad.

Mais later reportedly said that they had returned the Bibles on condition that the books were not distributed in the state.

Mais chairman Datuk Mohd Adzib Mohd Isa also said that the deal that allowed the books to be returned required those of other faiths to observe a decree by the Sultan of Selangor that Muslim sensitivities should be respected.

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