Tuesday, June 17, 2014

2021) NEWS STRAIT TIMES 17/6/2014 - State govt mum on issue



Headline: State govt mum on issue
Publication: NST
Date of publication: Jun 17, 2014
Section heading: Main Section
Page number: 003
Byline / Author: By Nuradilla Noorazam
SHAH ALAM: THE deafening silence by the Selangor government and the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) following a hotly-anticipated closed-door meeting yesterday to discuss the seizure of 300 Malay and Iban-language Bibles has added even more intrigue to the issue.

Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim yesterday chaired the meeting with Mais, Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) and state executive councillors, to discuss follow-up action to the decision by Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to return the confiscated Bibles to its owner, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

However, Khalid remained holed up in the meeting room and did not come out to meet reporters after the meeting ended.

It was reported that Khalid had earlier told the press of the meeting, scheduled to held at 4.30pm.

However, the media were left baffled when, at 6.30pm, the meeting room doors opened and officials, believed to be from Mais and Jais, stormed out and made a beeline for the elevators.

Mais chairman Datuk Mohamad Adzib Mohd Isa was seen leaving the meeting room but evaded the media by using another elevator.

Jais officials, when pressed by reporters at the lobby for details, refused to comment on the meeting.

Selangor exco member and Pas assemblyman Dr Ahmad Yunus Hairi, when asked on the state government's position on the issue, refused to disclose any details.

He simply repeated "no comment" to the flood of questions and proceeded to the elevators.

The press waited for Khalid to come down to the lobby, but after an hour, decided to disperse when there were no signs of the menteri besar. It was learnt that Mais officials had met the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris, earlier yesterday to discuss the issue.

However, Mais representatives declined to confirm the claim.

Khalid, meanwhile, is slated to meet the sultan tomorrow to discuss the matter. It was understood that the menteri besar would not be issuing any statement on the issue until then.

The issue began on Jan 2, when Jais, employing a state law which prohibits non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" to refer to God, raided BSM's premises in Damansara and seized more than 300 copies of the Malay and Iban language Bibles.

However, the A-G later cleared BSM of any wrongdoing and concluded that the seized Bibles be returned to BSM.

The decision was challenged on Saturday by Mais, which claimed that the A-G's decision could cause confusion among Muslims. Mais had also claimed that the Selangor government had no authority to instruct Jais to return the Bibles.

Mais also expressed its belief that there was a case to be made against BSM under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

The A-G's decision was met with criticism by a group of non-governmental organisations, which comprised Gabungan Bela Hak Insan Pulau Pinang (Gabungan), Malay rights group Perkasa, Malaysia Muslim Consumer Association (PPIM) and Ikatan Kebajikan & Dakwah Selangor (IKDDAS).

Among others, they had accused the A-G of betraying the Muslim community through his inaction on the issue.


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