Bibles and water: Tian defends Khalid


He says the Selangor MB doesn’t deserve blame for the water crisis and the seizure of bibles

G Vinod and Ng Suzhen, Free Malaysia Today

One of PKR’s most prominent activists has come to the defence of party colleague Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as he faces attacks even from within the party over his handling of the water crisis and the seizure of bibles from a Christian organisation.

In a recent interview with FMT, PKR vice president Tian Chua said critics would see that the Selangor Menteri Besar could not be blamed if they considered the two problems from the historical and national perspectives.

He said the controversy over water supply had its roots in Putrajaya’s decision to blackmail Selangor voters and he hinted that the bible issue was created by hidden hands in the Umno camp.

In recent weeks, several PKR leaders, including party boss Anwar Ibrahim, have joined the BN chorus in criticising Khalid over the prolonged water rationing in the Klang Valley and his alleged lack of proactivity in ensuring the return of Malay and Iban translations of the Bible that the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) seized from the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) last January.

Explaining the water issue, Tian said Putrajaya decided on a confrontational attitude when Khalid’s administration proposed, soon after the 2008 general election, to acquire water assets from private firms.

“The Federal Government used water as a weapon to blackmail Selangor voters,” he said. “It was only after we won the state again in 2013 did it realise that it could not keep being confrontational.”

Recently, Putrajaya agreed to invoke the Water Services Industries Act 2006 to force the four major water firms to sell their stakes to a company owned by the Selangor government. In return, Khalid would give all the necessary approvals to allow Putrajaya to restart the Langat 2 project to supply treated water from Pahang to Selangor.

Answering critics who say Selangor should have listened when Putrajaya warned in 2009 and 2011 that the state would face a water shortage if Langat 2 did not go ahead, Tian said:

“There are other factors causing the water shortage, such as climate change. It would have made no difference whoever was running the state government.”

On the bible issue, Tian said that it was Umno’s insecurity that caused the problem.

He noted that other states beside Selangor, such as Terengganu and Johor, also barred non-Muslims from using “Allah” for “God”.

“But a problem seems to arise only in a Pakatan-ruled state,” he said.

“Even before Pakatan took over the state in 2008, the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988 was there, but there was no problem.

“But since Pakatan took over, there seems to be a problem. It looks like the enforcement agency (Jais) has a different interpretation of the law.”