Selangor MB washes hands off Jais’ ‘Allah’ probe


(MM) – The Selangor government will not interfere with the investigation by the state’s religious authorities on Christian bibles containing the word “Allah”, Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said today.

He said that investigations by the Selangor Islamic Religious Council (Mais) and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) are still going on after the latter seized over 300 Malay and Iban-language bibles from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) on January 2, purportedly under a state law that prohibits non-Muslims from using 35 Arabic words and phrases, including “Allah”, in their faiths.

“The state government will not interfere in order to avoid disturbing the probe,” Khalid tweeted this morning on his @Khalid_Ibrahim account.

The Selangor mentri besar’s remark follows on the heels of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement yesterday that Putrajaya’s 10-point solution on the row over the Arabic word for God is subject to existing state and federal laws.

Besides Selangor, nine other states have similar enactments banning non-Muslim usage of “Allah” and other Arabic words, except Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and the Federal Territories.

Lawyers have denounced the Selangor 1988 enactment that prohibits non-Muslims from calling God “Allah” as unconstitutional.

Khalid, however, told a press conference on January 15 that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has yet to decide on whether or not to amend the Selangor state law.

The Najib administration’s 10-point solution — which was mooted shortly before the Sarawak state election in 2011 to resolve the seizure of a consignment of the Al-Kitab — allows for bibles in Malay and indigenous languages to be printed, imported and distributed freely in Sabah and Sarawak.

But in the peninsula, the holy books must be stamped to indicate that they are a Christian publication.

Point nine of the 10-point solution, however, states that the federal government’s commitment in working with Christian groups will take into account the relevant laws in the country.

BSM president Lee Min Choon told The Malay Mail Online today that there are no updates yet on the case of the bible seizures after he and his colleague, Sinclair Wong, were questioned by Jais on January 10.