Media conference statement by Lim Kit Siang in Sandakan on Saturday, 12th March 2011 at 2pm:
Seizure of 35,000 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia – another example that Najib is not master of his own house and the hollowness of 1Malaysia?
Is the continued seizure of 35,000 copies of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia – 30,000 copies in Kuching Port and 5,000 copies in Port Klang – another example that the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak is not master of his own house and the hollowness of his 1Malaysia policy?
It is three days since the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) has come out with a statement expressing that it is “greatly disillusioned, fed-up and angered by the repeated detention of Bibles written in our national language, Bahasa Malaysia”.
The CFM Chairman Bishop Ng Boon Hing and its executive committee in a joint statement on Thursday revealed the power of the “Little Napoleons” in the bureaucracy which could even thwart and veto the Prime Minister’s order for the release of the Christian scriptures in Bahasa Malaysia.
Why has there been no action by Najib to ensure that his order to release the 5,000 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia held in Port Klang since March 2009 are complied with without any more delay or hassle?
Instead, we have a Home Ministry official justifying the seizure of the Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia on the ground that it was based on a Cabinet decision made a quarter of a century ago in 1986.
However, despite the Cabinet decision in 1986, there had been no insuperable problem with the import of Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia for the next two decades.
The Prime Minister in 1986 was Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad but it was during the premiership of Tun Abdullah that the 1986 Cabinet decision became a most polarising issue, not only in Peninsular Malaysia but extending to Sabah and Sarawak as well, seriously undermining national unity and harmony.
Are the concerns and fears that Malays may be proselytised to become Christians if Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia are allowed really valid and genuine as to justify the belated implementation of the 1986 Cabinet decision two decades later? Can the authorities furnish statistics of how many Malays were converted to Christianity in the two decades from 1986?
It would appear that although Najib is the Prime Minister, he is working under the shadow of the fourth Prime Minister whose 1986 Cabinet decision has greater power and authority than the order from the current Prime Minister.
The prohibition of the use of Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia for Malaysian Christians, particularly those who are educated in the Bahasa Malaysia medium in the national education system, makes double mockery of Najib’s 1Malaysia’s nation-building policy as well as the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion.
Now, even the authority of Najib as Prime Minister is under question – whether he is master in his own house or beholden and subject to the fourth Prime Minister for a Cabinet decision made 25 years ago which should not have been made in the first place.
It is a test of Najib’s authority as Prime Minister, his commitment to 1Malaysia Policy and the constitutional guarantee of freedom religion whether the Prime Minister could ensure the release of the 35,000 Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia in Kuching Port and Port Klang without any more delay or hassle.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor