Bible group’s move may test Selangor, Pakatan in defending minorities, says DAP rep

A DAP lawmaker today said The Bible Society of Malaysia’s (BSM) shift from Selangor to Kuala Lumpur showed that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) and the state government had failed in defending the rights of minorities.

Party national publicity chief Tony Pua said that this may be costly to the coalition’s plans to wrest Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional and even keep Selangor within the grasp of PR.

"The Selangor government under Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim must utilise the political capital vested by the electorate to uphold the position and principles of PR.

"If we fail to make Selangor a showcase PR state, we will not only kiss our Putrajaya ambitions goodbye, even our hold on the state will be in jeopardy," Pua said.

He added that the Selangor government should not take the support from of the electorate in Selangor for granted as it could backfire in the 14th general election.

BSM yesterday announced yesterday that it will move its office from Selangor to Kuala Lumpur.

"There can be no biggest insult to PR when BSM chairman Lee Min Choon claimed that Putrajaya offered better protection to religious minorities," Pua said.

"However, what was more disappointing was the response from Khalid who nonchalantly wished BSM 'all the best'."

Pua reminded the Selangor government that prior to the 2008 general polls, the opposition only had two elected representatives in the state.

"The very same voters who turned their backs on Barisan Nasional can also do the same to us if we take them for granted," said Pua.

Pua said BN's abject failure in defending the rights of the minorities should not be an excuse for PR to follow in their footsteps.

"The people in Selangor gave us their overwhelming support last year during the polls because they are expecting us to be much better.

"The complete indifference of the Selangor state government, as if BSM's move will magically vanish a pesky thorn in their side, is disappointing."

On January 2, 2014, the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) raided the BSM offices in Damansara Kim, and seized more than 300 copies of Alkitab and Bup Kudus (Iban Bibles) during the raid.

The raid was carried out under the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.

Until today, the seized Bibles have yet to be returned to the BSM, with the Selangor state government passing the buck to the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Khalid even told BSM to write to the Attorney-General to ask for the return of their seized holy books.

Pua said PR's position over the term Allah could not be any clearer as the term could be used by other religions such as Christianity and Sikhism.

"The term must not be abused and used for purposes of propagation among Muslims, a position which PR respects as part of the Federal Constitution," Pua said.

"The Selangor state government has clearly failed to uphold the Pakatan Rakyat’s stand on this issue."

Pua said Khalid had confirmed this contradiction when he said: "I think you must understand as a state, we have the laws to follow."

"People must believe that we respect the law and we respect the rights of everybody," Abdul Khalid said.

Pua said Khalid was wrong, as there were good laws, and there were laws which leave plenty of room for improvement.

"It is the responsibility of any PR government to uphold good laws, while seeking to improve the laws which does not reflect the position of the coalition, or the interest of the people.

"For example, the Internal Security Act and the Sedition Act are clearly bad laws, which PR leaders have fought steadfastly over the past decades to their own personal detriment.

"As righteous leaders with strong moral convictions, we cannot concede to bad laws which victimise the innocent and rob Malaysians of their basic rights," Pua said. – April 16, 2014.