Jais raid prompts Bible society move out from Selangor

BSM president Lee Min Choon said yesterday that the move was needed as the federal administrative centre, Putrajaya, offered better protection to religious minorities.

Malaysia
Apr 16 2014, 1:40 PM
Jais raid prompts Bible society move out from Selangor
BSM president Lee Min Choon.

The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) will move its operations out of Selangor to Kuala Lumpur, a federal territory, following the raid by the state’s Islamic Religious Department (Jais) on January 2, 2014.

BSM president Lee Min Choon said yesterday that the move was needed as the federal administrative centre, Putrajaya, offered better protection to religious minorities. He also said that Putrajaya upheld the Cabinet’s 10-point solution to the Allah row by not disrupting the distribution of its Bible shipments.

Last January’s raid saw the seizure of some 300 Bahasa Malaysia and Iban-language Bibles from its premises in Selangor’s Damansara, just metres away from the state's border with Kuala Lumpur.

Lee said that the move was inevitable as there was no assurance from the Selangor authorities that similar incidents will not happen again.

He added that it will no longer be importing Bibles through Port Klang.

"We will ship BM bibles directly to Sabah and Sarawak, where most of the Bahasa Malaysia bible readers are residing. As for the peninsula, we will ship through Penang, which does not have a law like the 1988 Selangor Enactment," he said in yesterday’s press conference.

Lee said the move is expected to happen in the next two months.

“We have shipments waiting to come in based on orders made before the raid. But because we don't want to risk our Bibles being seized again, we have delayed the shipment of 50,000 BM Bibles from Indonesia.

Lee said that in future, Christians and churches who want to buy the BM Bibles, or Al-Kitab, from BSM will have to get them from BSM outlets that will be established in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Kuching, Miri and Kota Kinabalu as part of the relocation exercise.

Currently, BSM's only other outlet apart from its Damansara Kim office is a storeroom in Kota Kinabalu.

He added that the relocation of its main registered business address from Damansara Kim to Kuala Lumpur will, however, be subject to Registrar of Societies approval.

While the move from its current premises in Damansara Kim, which they have occupied for over 30 years will be difficult on its finances, Lee said they could not carry on under the present circumstances.

Since the Jais raided the BSM offices in Selangor on January 2 and confiscated 300 books comprising both the Al-Kitab and the Iban-language Bible, the society has been looking to get an explanation from the state over the seizure.

Source: The Malaysian Insider