Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 3rd of January, 2014
In 2012, the Bible Society of Malaysia celebrated the 400th anniversary of the Malay bible. One of the events during this celebration was a thanksgiving dinner where a few hundred copies of the BM bible that were held by Customs in 2011 were given away. I have one such copy in my house in Petaling Jaya, stamped with the words “Peringatan – Al Kitab Berita Baik ini untuk kegunaan Penganut Agama Kristian Sahaja – dengan perintah Menteri Dalam Negeri 16 Mac 2011”. I also have a copy of a Children’s Malay bible or Al Kitab. In both these Malay bibles, the word “Allah” is used. In addition, the words “Rasul”, “Nabi”, “Firman” and “Wahyu” are also used. I also have a copy of the Indonesian Al-Kitab where the word “Allah” is used.
Christians in Peninsular Malaysia and in East Malaysia have been using these words in worship songs, in prayers, in sermons and in the scriptures in BM services for many years without disrupting the harmony with our Muslim neighbours and friends. There has been no evidence produced to indicate that these BM services are being used to proselytize to our Muslim friends. Similarly, there has been no evidence produced to show that the BM bible is being used for proselytization to Malaysian Muslims. As such, the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988 in Selangor should not apply to Christians using “Allah” as well as “Firman”, “Rasul”, “Nabi” and “Wahyu” in their BM bibles since the Article 11 (3) of the Federal Constitution protects the right of each religious group to manage their own affairs.
Hence, the raiding of the premises of the Bible Society of Malaysia on Thursday, 2nd of January 2014, was a violation of their constitutional rights. JAIS should put an immediate stop to such raids. If taken to extremes, will JAIS raid all the churches in Selangor who conduct BM services where the ‘banned’ words under the enactment will inevitably be used? Will JAIS raid all the residence of Christians who are suspected of having BM bibles, including my own residence? This kind of behaviour is unacceptable in a multi-religious society like Malaysia where the freedom of religion is protected under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.
 The following words are listed as ‘words which are not to be used pertaining to a non-Islamic religion’ under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988: “Allah”, “Firman Allah”, “Ulama”, “Hadith”, “Ibadah”, “Kaabah”, “Kadi”, “Illahi”, “Wahyu”, “Mubaligh”, “Syariah”, “Qiblat”, “Haji”, “Mufti”, “Rasul”, “Iman”, “Dakwah”, “Injil”, “Salat”, “Khalifah”, “Wali”, “Fatwa”, “Nabi”, “Sheikh”