Selangor State Exco in charge of Muslim affairs, Sallehin Mukhyi, should work with JAIS to return the BSM Malay and Iban bibles as soon as possible without needing to consult the Attorney General

Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 14th of June 2014

It was reported yesterday that Selangor State Exco in charge of Muslim affairs, Sallehin Mukhyi, would seek an appointment with the Attorney General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to ‘get a verification on the lawful ways to return the Bibles’ confiscated from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) in January.[1]

It puzzles me as to why Sallehin needs to see the Attorney General on this matter since the AG had earlier declared on the 11th of June, 2014, that the bibles that were confiscated by JAIS were not material founded under Section 9(1)(a) of the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment 1988. The AG also concluded that these books were not items under a control list of the Minister of Home Affairs and were not a national security issue. As far as the AG’s chambers are concerned, there will be no prosecutions and hence this case is considered closed.[2]

Following the AG’s decision, the Minister Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim announced that Sallehin, together with the state’s legal advisor, Datuk Nik Suhaimi Nik Sulaiman, would aid JAIS in returning the bibles to BSM.[3] There was no mention of there being a need to consult the AG on the process for the return of these bibles.

As such, Sallehin should not find any excuses to delay the return of the BSM bibles. He should use his wisdom and discretion and that of the state’s legal advisor to work with JAIS in order to return the BSM bibles as soon as possible. It would be best if the return of the BSM bibles could be done in a manner to build bridges and increase trust between the Selangor state government, JAIS and BSM. This would show the sincerity of the Selangor state government in wanting to promote harmonious ties between the state government and the adherents of various faiths in the state of Selangor. All this can be done without any further need to consult the Attorney General and to delay the return to BSM of what is rightfully theirs, namely the BM and Iban bibles.