The Selangor Bible saga is the new tiki-taka or possession football where no one wants to be the person to return the seized Malay- and Iban-language bibles or say they have made a huge mistake.
Let alone apologise for taking away the holy books of a community that has every right to practise their faith in the language of their choice in Malaysia.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has already declared that the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) had not committed an offence under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control and Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 or the Penal Code.
Therefore it follows that the seized Bibles should be returned, but the Selangor Islamic Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) believe otherwise.
And it looks like neither Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim nor the state ruler will explicitly tell the state Islamic authorities to follow the A-G’s decision. Even Putrajaya has not been forceful on this issue.
The unending saga of the Bibles point to three things – abject failure of leadership, abject loss of reason and abject lack of faith – that are plaguing the country and chipping away at harmony in Malaysia.
No one leader at the state and federal levels is working to ensure that everyone has a right to practise their faith anywhere in the state or federation. Why is it difficult for a Sabahan or Sarawakian to pray in Bahasa or their own dialect in Selangor when it is possible in their own home states?
Are these Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak just there to provide votes every five years but otherwise not welcome to live their lives in the peninsula? Aren’t all Malaysians equal before the law?
And one has to ask, where is the leadership in this issue? The Bibles were seized on January 2, the A-G made his decision last week and yet the Bibles remain in the custody of the state authorities.
Reason, too, is missing in this saga. Why do Islamic authorities have this belief that the Christians or anyone else is out to proselytise Muslims? Where and what is their proof?
Muslims, by Islamic laws in Malaysia, cannot change their faith or be apostates as simply as registering another faith in their identity cards. So, why this belief that distributing the Malay- and Iban-language Bibles is an insidious attempt to convert Muslims to Christianity?
Or is it just the word Allah used in the Bibles that offend the Islamic authorities? Yet the law is clear that the Bibles are basic religious texts not covered by the state law on usage of such words.
So what is their excuse?
Don’t the Islamic authorities have faith that Muslims know better than to believe or get confused if they come across such Bibles? After all, the Quran is in the Arabic language and script, not Malay or Iban.
The merry-go-round to keep the seized Bibles reflects that these authorities just want to flex their muscles and wield their power in the face of the A-G and the elected government of the day.
They want Malaysians to follow what they say, moderation and unity be damned. But their actions are hurting Malaysia and its prized unity and harmony among all Malaysians – no matter their race, creed or faith.
And there is just no one who calls themselves leaders who want to stand up to them. So, the tiki-taka continues and Malaysia is fractured further. So much for Pakatan Harapan Rakyat or even 1Malaysia.