Bibles issue being resolved amicably, says Hishammuddin

(The Star) – PETALING JAYA: The issue of the impounding of 30,000 Bibles at Port Klang and Kuching Port is being resolved amicably with the parties concerned, based on advice from the Attorney-General.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the situation was not due to the books or the material but the pending appeal by the Catholic Herald over the use of the word “Allah” in its publication.

“The appeal has yet to be heard by the court to resolve the bigger issue of content one way or the other.

“In respect of the bibles from Port Klang and Kuching Port, the ministry have since sought and obtained the advice of the Attorney-General and the two matters are being resolved amicably with the parties concerned, based on this advice, in the next few days.

“I urge all parties not to listen to wild allegations and speculations. As always, the ministry will act based on the law,” he said in a statement here on Sunday.

Hishammuddin was commenting on the controversy over the impounding of the Bibles following calls by the Sarawak government for the books to be released immediately.

In 2009, the High Court had ruled that the Catholic Church had the constitutional right to use the word “Allah”. However, the ministry filed an appeal against the High Court decision in February 2010 and won a stay, until the case is dealt with by the Court of Appeal.

Hishammuddin assured Christians that the bibles had not been destroyed and that the matter was being resolved rationally to avoid it turning into an “emotive and polemic” issue.

He also claimed that during the Sibu by-election last year, there had been rumours that some irresponsible groups were seizing, destroying and burning the Bibles.

“These lies were clearly intended to stoke religious and racial emotions for political considerations.

“In the last few days, the Opposition, DAP, including Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, and PAS have begun to raise the matter again, obviously due to talks of the upcoming state elections in Sarawak,” he said.