The Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) has gone overboard in its decision to keep the Bibles that were seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) early this year, an opposition leader said today.
Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR) said the Malay and Iban-language Bibles should have been returned to BSM on the instruction of Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.
Gani had announced that Mais should return the Bibles because they did not pose a threat to national security.
But Mais and the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais), which confiscated the holy books when it raided the BSM premises in January, have refused to carry out Gani’s instruction.
Zuraida said that Mais was duty-bound to follow Gani’s instruction which was in accordance with the Federal Constitution.
“Islamic matters fall under the state authority which makes Jais come under the supervision of the Selangor state government,” she said.
She added that the Pakatan Rakyat state government was of the opinion that the Bibles should be returned to BSM.
“Mais’ sole decision to retain the Bibles shows utter disrespect for the country’s laws,” she said.
“Although Islam is the religion of the federation, the Federal Constitution clearly does not provide Mais with such powers to supersede the Attorney-General and the courts,” said Zuraida.
“Mais has gone overboard with its conflicting stance with the Selangor state government,” she added.
Meanwhile, Wanita MCA took a swipe at a Muslim NGO for “taunting” the Attorney-General over the Bible issue.
Its chief, Heng Seai Kie, said it was inappropriate for the NGO – Pertubuhan Ahli Sunnah Walamaah Malaysia – to condemn Gani for not acting against the BSM.
“This NGO is simply extremist,” she said.
“I admire Gani’s handling of the Bible issue in a professional and fair manner. He was not influenced by his own religion when making the decision,” she said.
“Gani was performing his duty according to the law. Since the Bibles posed no threat to national security, it is fair that they be returned to BSM,” said Heng.