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  Media Statement (2) by Lim Kit Siang in Parliament on Wednesday, 6th February 2008: 

Can Abdullah check the rise of LMNs in bureaucracy ?  Why is government  super-efficient and super-responsive only  when general election is around the corner? 

 ´┐ŻFu: seized Bible copies returned to owner´┐Ż was the headline in yesterday´┐Żs Star ´┐Ż on  copies of the Bible taken from a woman at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal recently  which were promptly returned to her within 24 hours of the matter being highlighted in electronic media like Malaysiakini and foreign agencies and press like the International Herald Tribune and  the protest of the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM). 

The question every Malaysian is asking is ´┐Ż why is the government so super-efficient and super-responsive only when the general election is around the corner but such traits are totally forgotten after polling day? 

It is just no good enough for Fu to say that the confiscation of 32 Bibles from a woman who had just returned from a visit to Manila was done by a Customs officer and did not involve his Ministry. 

This is the account of missionary Juliana Nicholas on her ordeal, as reported by Malaysiakini, which vindicated Malaysiankini columnist Helen Ang´┐Żs coining of the term ´┐ŻLittle Mullah Napoleons´┐Ż (LMN): 

´┐ŻOn Jan 28, missionary Juliana Nicholas returned from a trip to the Philippines carrying with her two boxes containing 32 bibles meant for her church group.

´┐ŻUpon arrival at the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) in Kuala Lumpur, she was told to declare and open the contents of the boxes.

´┐ŻHaving done so - and despite showing them a letter from her parish priest stating the texts were for use by the church - Nicholas was shocked to be hear subsequently that the bibles would be ´┐Żreferred´┐Ż to the Internal Security Ministry´┐Żs Publications and Al-Quran Texts Control Division.

´┐ŻProtestations that they could check the bibles there and then without the inconvenience of referring them to the ministry fell on deaf ears, said Nicholas.

´┐Ż´┐ŻWhen I objected as these were English bibles, the ministry official I spoke to said, ´┐ŻOh, we do this even with the Qurans that come through this way´┐Ż. But these are not Qurans, these are English bibles!´┐Ż Nicolas said when contacted.

´┐ŻAs to when the bibles can be returned to her ´┐Żwould depend on those people at the division´┐Ż, Nicholas said she was told further.´┐Ż

Faced with the rise of LMNs in the public service and the growing  number of incidents showing an alarming change in  the bureaucratic  mindset from liberal acceptance and respect for the multi-religious characteristics of Malaysia in the first four decades of Malaysian nationhood to an increasing intolerance of the rights and sensitivities of other religions, the time is well past for Fu to indulge in hair-splitting and buck-passing in the latest insensitivity for a plural Malaysia of diverse races, languages, cultures and religions. 

Everybody knows that the LMNs are not within the remit of Fu to contain and discipline.   

Malaysians want to know from the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi  whether the custom officer who had seized the 31 bibles  had been suspended pending  a full inquiry for more  severe disciplinary action  to be taken in view of the gravity of the action. 

Even more important, Malaysians are asking whether Abdullah can check the rise of LMNs in the bureaucracy or his Islam Hadhari is creating the opposite effect ´┐Ż providing fertile ground for the LMNs to bully their way in the civil service!


* Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

 
 

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