Bahasa Malaysia Bibles: The Cabinet’s 10-point solution
PM Najib Razak wrote a letter to Bishop Ng Moon Hing, Chairman of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) on 11 April 2011 to address the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and other related issues.
In his letter the Prime Minister gave a 10-point solution. He reiterated the government’s commitment to work with Christian groups and all the different religious groups in order to address interreligious issues and work towards the fulfilment of all religious aspirations in accordance with the Constitution, taking into account the other relevant laws of the country.
He also gave his assurances of the government’s commitment in solving any religious issues in this country.
The 10-point solution to address the Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia Bible and other related issues:
11 April 2011
Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM)
As we are all aware, the impounding of the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia has triggered concerns and tensions within the country which we have to address urgently to prevent these from escalating any further. Consequently, we have been in discussion with the Christian Federation of Malaysia and other Christian groups to resolve the Bahasa Malaysia/lndonesia Bible and also other religious issues. Taking into account the polarity of views of the different religious groups, including Christians and Muslims, the Government decided on a Ten-Point Solution.
On 2 April 2011 the Government announced a Ten-Point Solution to address the Bible issue and other related issues. I wish to confirm that this is a collective decision by the Cabinet.
The Ten Point Solution is as follows:
1. Bibles in all languages can be imported into the country, including Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia.
2. These Bibles can also be printed locally in Peninsula Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. This is a new development which should be welcomed by the Christian groups.
3. Bibles in indigenous languages of Sabah and Sarawak such as Iban, Kadazan¬Dusun and Lun Bawang can also be printed locally and imported.
4. For Sabah and Sarawak, in recognition of the large Christian community in these states, there are no conditions attached to the importation and local printing of the Bibles in all languages, including Bahasa Malaysia/ Indonesia and indigenous languages. There is no requirement for any stamp or serial number.
5. Taking into account the interest of the larger Muslim community, for Peninsula Malaysia, Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, imported or printed, must have the words “Christian Publication” and the cross sign printed on the front covers.
6. In the spirit of 1Malaysia and recognising that many people travel between Sabah and Sarawak and Peninsula Malaysia, there should be no prohibitions and restrictions for people who bring along their Bibles and Christian materials on such travel.
7. A directive on the Bible has been issued by the Ketua Setiausaha (KSU) of the Home Ministry to ensure proper implementation of this cabinet decision. Failure to comply will subject the officers to disciplinary action under the General Orders. A comprehensive briefing by top officials, including the Attorney General (AG), will be given to all relevant civil servants to ensure good understanding and proper implementation of the directive (See Attachment 1).
8. For the impounded Bibles in Kuching, Gideon, the importer can collect all the 30,000 Bibles free of charge. We undertake to ensure the parties involved are reimbursed. The same offer remains available for the importer of the 5,100 Bibles in Port Kiang, which have already been collected by the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) last week.
9. Beyond the Bible issue, the Government wishes to reiterate its commitment to work with the Christian groups and all the different religious groups in order to address interreligious issues and work towards the fulfilment of all religious aspirations in accordance with the constitution, taking into account the other relevant laws of the country. In order to bring urgency to this work, in my capacity as the Prime Minister, I will meet the representatives of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) soon to discuss the way forward.
10. The Christian Ministers in the cabinet will meet on a regular basis with representatives of the various Christian groups in order to discuss their issues and work with the relevant Ministries and myself in order to resolve them. As the leader of this country, I wish to reiterate the Government’s commitment in solving any religious issues in this country. There is a need to manage polarities that exist in our society to achieve peace and harmony. I believe the best way to achieve this is through respect, tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation.
DATO’ SRI MOHD NAJIB
(Prime Minister of Malaysia)