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Media statement by Teresa Kok Suh Sim in Tawau on Monday, 14th March 2011:

BN Leaders' disappointing response to the impounding of the 35,000 Malay-language bibles in Klang and Kuching reveals Najib's 1Malaysia to be the sham that it is

I unreservedly condemn BN leaders' disappointing response to the impounding of the 35,000 Malay-language Bibles or al-Kitab at the ports of Klang and Kuching by the Government. Their respective response reveals that Najib's 1Malaysia to be such a sham, that even their very top leaders are unmoved by it. If they truly believed in Najib's call to "People First, Performance Now," they would have taken steps to release the al-Kitab instead of giving the Christian Federation of Malaysia the short-shrift with conflicting messages, constant delays and unfulfilled promises, and now with their disappointing statements.

It was the Home Ministry's decision to impound the Malay-language bibles and yet Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein has taken the cowardly way out by passing the buck to the Attorney General. He claimed that the delay is being caused by the need to seek advice from the Attorney-General. This is a weak excuse. His Ministry is either truly inefficient or truly insincere in their attempt because they have had almost two years to consult the Attorney-General on this matter. 23 March 2011 will mark the second anniversary since the impounding of the 5,000 al-Kitab at Port Klang.

I am further appalled that MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek's had the gall to propose that Malay-language Bibles should be printed locally by government-approved printers so that they could be circulated to churches here with proper supervision. This proposal is ridiculous as it suggests that the bibles which are currently being impounded are contraband in some manner. Even worse, he is proposing to increase the Government's power and control over the religious practices of non-Muslims.

I remind Dr Chua that by impounding the al-Kitab, the Government is in breach of the Federal Constitution which provides that every person has the right to profess and to practice his or her religion (Article 11) and that while Islam is the religion of the country, other religions may be practiced in peace and harmony (Article 3).

I therefore urge that the Government apologise for their transgression and order the immediate release of the bibles in recognition of the right to freedom of religion as enshrined in the Federal Constitution. Failing which, the Government's inaction once again proves 1Malaysia to be mere sloganeering without an ounce of credibility.

* Teresa Kok Suh Sim, National Organising Secretary, Selangor State Senior EXCO for Investment, Industry & Trade & MP for Seputeh



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