Eight Major Chinese Youth-based Organisations (Emco) is issuing this joint statement - we seriously condemn the recent intrusive behaviour of the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) of entering the office of the Bible Society of Malaysia and seizing copies of the Bible. This action by Jais not only has no legal basis, but has also seriously hurt the feelings of Christians in Malaysia.
Jais’s jurisdiction should only be confined to Islamic religious affairs. But this time they have even trespassed into the office of the Bible Society. In addition to the act being unconstitutional, it also seriously violated the freedom and safety of the public.
The legality of the use of the word ‘Allah’ is still being appealed. Therefore, all related issues should be dealt with only after the courts have made their final decision. So, the actions of Jais can be construed as being in contempt of court and at the same time not respecting the ten-point programme reaffirmed by the prime minister in October last year.
This incident has aroused the tension of non-Islamic religious believers nation-wide. The government must take immediate measures to stop any possible legal action being taken against the chairperson and the staff of the Bible Society and return all copies of the Bible belonging to the Bible Society.
We also wish to criticise the behavior of Selangor Umno which urged its members to gather and demonstrate in front of churches as extremely irresponsible and dangerous. It will not only hurt the feelings of Christians in the whole country for the second time, but also allow the incident to spread out of control.
At the same time, we urge Christians to remain calm, because this is just a single incident whereas Muslims in Malaysia are generally very gentle, kind and friendly. At this time, all parties need to exercise restraint and return to their own religious teachings.
In a pluralistic country like ours, all parties need to continue being tolerant and respectful of and appreciate each other. We also call on both sides to actively contribute to talks to work towards finding a solution to this problem on the basis of fairness and harmony.
In addition, we also urge the government to ensure that all decisions are made based on the protection of the interests of all Malaysian people and the freedom of their beliefs, because it will reflect on the government’s credibility, including respecting our constitution and complying with the 10 point plan laid down by the cabinet in 2011.
Eight Major Chinese Youth-based Organisations (Emco) are: Young Buddhist Association of Malaysia, Federation of Malaysian Youth Movement, Malaysian Christian Youth Association, Malaysian Youth Solidarity Movement, Malaysia Clan Youth Federation, Malaysia Venture Association, Malaysian College Youth Associations, The Malaysian International Youth Chamber of Commerce.