Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Protect and defend Christians' right to use the Alkitab

30 March 2011 By Administrator | TinyURL TM


30th March 2011

We are grateful to Almighty God for bringing together Christian leaders from across churches in Semenanjung, Sabah and Sarawak to address the current controversy surrounding the impounding of Bahasa Malaysia Bibles, the Alkitab, at Port Klang and Kuching. This decision weighs heavily on us because of the implications not only for Christians but for all Malaysians.

We are united in our reaffirmation of the freedom of religion and worship. Therefore, our position is that there should be no restrictions, proscriptions or prohibitions whatsoever on the Bible or the use of the language of our choice in the practice of our religion, as it was in the days before and after the formation of Malaysia.

Christians, like any other Malaysians, are not demanding for anything beyond our constitutional and fundamental human rights as enshrined in Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The current controversy surrounding the Alkitab is just one of many issues that concerns Christians. There has been a systematic and progressive pushing back of the public space to practice, to profess and to express our faith. For example, the wearing and displaying of crosses and other religious symbols, using religious words and constructing places of worship have been restricted.

When Christians express this concern, we do so not just for ourselves but on behalf of all Malaysians. Our faith forms a critical component of our identity as Malaysians in nation-building as enshrined in the first pillar of our nation’s Rukunegara: Belief in God.

As regards the offer made by the government on 22 March 2011, we respectfully state that this does not address the substantive issues. In point of fact, our previous offer made in 2005 to use the term “A Christian Publication” was only honoured in respect of one shipment of the Alkitab. Subsequent shipments were similarly held up and subjected to further arbitrary conditions for release.

In order to move forward, we call on the Government to commit itself once and for all to remove every impediment, whether legal or administrative, to the importation, publication, distribution and use of the Alkitab and indeed to protect and defend our right to use the Alkitab.

This includes revoking all orders made under the Internal Security Act 1960, which have declared the Alkitab as a threat to national security. Neither can the Alkitab be considered a threat to public order under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984. We categorically reject the characterisation of our Holy Scriptures in this manner.

Instead, we see our Holy Scriptures as providing enlightenment and direction. In the words of the psalmist, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119 : 105). In the New Testament is stated the teaching that we hold dear and true : “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3 : 16)

We remain committed to work with the Government for a viable and long-term solution where the detailed processes and procedures are made clear and unequivocal and so long as our fundamental liberties as enshrined in the Federal Constitution are not infringed.

As for the copies of the Alkitab that have been impounded and desecrated, we reiterate our position that the action of the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) in stamping the Bibles amounts to an act of defacement, disrespect and treating with disdain the holy book of the Christians.

Given the unfortunate experience of KDN’s tendency of taking arbitrary action without consulting affected parties or respecting the religious sensitivities of the Christian community, any decision to collect copies of the Alkitab which have been stamped and serialised would be with a view to prevent the possibility of further arbitrary acts of desecration, disrespect or destruction being committed against the Holy Scripture of the Christians by KDN and its officers.

We have left it to the 2 importers to decide whether or not to collect the Alkitab, based on their different specific circumstances and level of trust in the authorities and the processes in their local context.

Nevertheless, no matter what their decision is, we remain united in our common stand to uphold the principle of freedom of religion which includes the free availability without hindrance or obstacle of the Alkitab and all sacred scriptures in Malaysia.

We continue to call on all peace-loving Malaysians to pray for a dignified resolution to these critical issues in the life of our nation.

Dated this day 30th March 2011


Bishop Ng Moon Hing
Chairman and the Executive Committee
The Christian Federation of Malaysia



傍晚 5点05分



idris jala interview 200910 02它也批评首相署部长依德里斯(Idris Jala,右图)在3月22日提出的献议,并未处理核心问题。

依德里斯当时表示,政府愿意撤回马来文版圣经必须盖章编号才能入口的决定,并改提出盖上“供基督教”(Untuk Agama Kristian)字眼的条件。








黄文兴更揭露,他们在2005年提出的献议,即印上“基督出版品”(A Christian Publication),当局只遵守了一次。其后的马来文版圣经都面对被扣押,必须在不同的条件下才获得发还。











Christians reject Putrajaya’s overture over Malay bibles

UPDATED @ 05:19:18 PM 30-03-2011
March 30, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) rejected today the federal government’s overture in the Alkitab row, saying it did not resolve the core issue which is the erosion of basic human rights protected by the Federal Constitution.

The umbrella body representing over 90 per cent of churches here was referring specifically to Putrajaya’s offer to mask the Home Ministry’s stamp and serial numbering of 35,100 copies of the Malay bibles shipped in from Indonesia last week, as laid down last week by its Christian minister, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who is in charge of government and economic transformation.

Jala, in his statement on March 22, also said that certain Christian donors had also offered to fully replace, free of charge, the two marked cargoes at Port Klang and Kuching, which had been seized and detained by home ministry officials.

The CFM did not seem mollified by Jala’s attempts to placate the community, maintaining that the act — which had been carried out quietly and without the bible importers’ consent — amounted to a desecration of the Christian holy book and an outright show of disrespect, breaching the guarantees of this country’s highest law.

“Our position is that there should be no restrictions, proscriptions or prohibitions whatsoever on the bible or the use of the language of our choice in the practice of our religion, as it was in the days before and after the formation of Malaysia,” CFM said in a statement here today, adding that the Alkitab issue was not the only restriction.

It noted that there has been a “systematic and progressive pushing back” of Christian rights dating back to the 1980s — dating back to the 1980s — namely the right to practise, profess and express their faith.

It pointed to a series of restrictions imposed on Christians, such as the freedom to wear and openly display religious symbols, like the cross; the building of churches; and even what words can be used in a Christian religious context.

The Catholic Church and other Christian groups and individuals on both sides of the South China Sea have challenged the home minister for imposing those restrictions, which centre on the use of the Arabic word for God, “Allah”, but their cases have been stuck in queue in the courts since 2008 with no end in sight.

“In order to move forward, we call on the Government to commit itself once and for all to remove every impediment, whether legal or administrative, to the importation, publication, distribution and use of the Alkitab and indeed to protect and defend our right to use the Alkitab,” it said.

It demanded the federal government start by cancelling all orders made under the Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960, as well as the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984, which categorised the Alkitab as a threat to national security and public order.

“Christians, like any other Malaysian, are not demanding for anything beyond our constitutional and fundamental human rights as enshrined in Article 11(1) of the Federal Constitution and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said the group, led by its chairman, Anglican Bishop Ng Moon Hing.

CFM also said that it would leave the decision of what to do with the marked cargo to the affected importers, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and the Sarawak branch of global Christian group, The Gideons.

“We have left it to the two importers to decide whether or not to collect the Alkitab, based on their different specific circumstances and level of trust in the authorities and the processes in their local context,” it said.
With polls set to be called in Sarawak in just over two weeks, the controversy is expected to weigh on the minds of Christians who make up nearly close to half of the hornbill state’s total population.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Al-kitab 'solution' - it's in the intent, not the words

S K Teoh
Mar 25, 11

The latest announcement by Idris Jala to release the confiscated Al-kitab is a step forward to resolve the issue. Christians can show that they are reasonable yet remain firm in their stand that the Al-kitab is our scripture that is legitimate.

We have previously agreed to add the words 'Penerbitan Kristian' on the cover of the Al-kitab. This is better than 'Untuk Kristianiti', though the difference is not unacceptable.

The failure for any Umno minister to publicly support this step is still a worry that the recent action is only an interim action motivated by the coming Sarawak election. The Christian community can only be reassured if all Christian publications in Bahasa Malaysia with similar words 'Penerbitan Kristian' are allowed distribution (except with overt distribution to Muslims).

The government should then withdraw their appeal against the High Court's well-reasoned judgment that Christians have the right to use the term 'Allah' based on etymological, historical and constitutional grounds.

At least allow the High Court judgement to be implemented until the appeal is heard. State laws prohibiting the use of 'Allah' by Christians cannot surpass our constitutional right. Do they mean that non-Muslims cannot sing the state anthems where Allah is being mentioned?

Statements that government officers will obey the recent directive announced by Idris Jala are not reassuring enough as past promises even by prime ministers have been thwarted by the little Napoleons. That is why we are still facing this dilemma till today. Christians can only be reassured if the 1981 Act to place the Al-kitab as a controlled publication under the Internal Security Act be repealed.

In the meantime, the 35,000 copies of the Al-kitab which have been desecrated need to have the Home Ministry stamp removed, perhaps with the replacement of the covers.

That the additional costs will be borne by Christian donors again show the insincerity of the government as rightfully it should bear the costs of the damage caused by it.

Christians are not so concerned about words added on to the cover as to the intent (after all we also write notes on the pages).

Thus claims that the imported Koran may also have similar words added are not comparable as their intention is to authorise their copies as 'official' while the intent for the hasty Home Ministry's stamp on the Al-kitab is to 'control' their use.


Who next after Christians, questions non-Muslim interfaith council

March 25, 2011
The Najib administration has been criticised for what many view as high-handed tactics.
KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — A fever has broken out over Putrajaya’s handling of the Alkitab row that appears to have split multicultural Malaysia into two distinct camps — Muslim and non-Muslim — as the nation readies for crucial polls in Sarawak, its biggest Christian state.

The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) issued a strongly worded statement today accusing the Najib administration of riding roughshod over religions other than Islam when it imposed conditions for the release of 35,000 Malay bibles seized from Port Klang and Kuching.

“This means that the Alkitab (Bahasa Malaysia version) is now considered a restricted item and ‘the Word of God’ has been made subject to the control of man,” it said, citing the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) in the latter’s previous attempt to free the bibles.

CFM is the umbrella body that represents over 90 per cent of churches here.

In a series of news statements that started earlier this month, the Christian organisation denounced the Najib administration for defacing its holy books with the home ministry’s official seal, an act it said amounted to desecration.

“Does our current prime minister wield any authority? And if he does not, who does?” the interfaith council demanded of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“We also vehemently oppose the present line of action being pursued,” it said in solidarity with the Christian community.

About one in 10 Malaysians is Christian.

The MCCBCHST said the authorities seemed to want Malaysians to believe that the Alkitab conflict is solely a tussle between two creeds, Islam and Christianity; and affects only Muslims and Christians.

“After the Christians have been ‘fixed’, who next?” the MCCBCHST questioned.

The council — which represents five out of the country’s six main creeds — reminded the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition of its founder’s words uttered shortly after Independence in 1957.

“Let freedom be secured for all the law-abiding people. There shall be freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom of association, freedom of assembly and freedom of movement,” it said, citing first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj.

“The political leaders definitely do not have a finger on the pulse of the nation. They are definitely wrong in what they are doing,” it added, in a thinly veiled dig at Najib’s 1 Malaysia slogan aimed at uniting the different communities.

The MCCBCHST further accused Islamic leaders of not knowing their own religion despite dipping their fingers into the controversy.

“In the face of what has been alluded to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the narrative about ‘The Promise to St Catherine’, it is highly suspect that the Islamic high officials in our country do not even know their own religion!” it said.

Prophet Muhammad was said to have made a promise to a delegation of monks from the monastery near Mount Sinai over 1,400 years ago that Muslims will always protect Christians and their way of worship.

An English translation of the promise as published in the Islamic web site,, can be read here.

The Christian and Muslim religious communities have been engaged in a tug-of-war over the word “Allah”, with the latter group arguing that its use should be exclusive to them on the grounds that Islam is monotheistic and the word “Allah” denotes the Muslim God.

Christians, however, have argued that “Allah” is an Arabic word that has been used by those of other religious beliefs, including the Jews, for centuries in reference to God in many other parts of the world, notably in Arab nations and Indonesia.

The tussle is still trapped in the courts after the ministry won a stay of the 2009 High Court ruling that allowed Catholic weekly The Herald to use “Allah” in its Bahasa Malaysia section.

The ongoing bible row started in January and came to a head last week after the home ministry stamped the two separate shipments with its official seal before ordering their release.

The Christian importers have denounced the Najib administration for the act, which they say is a desecration of their holy book.

Two days ago, the government backed down and offered to paste over the marked Alkitab with labels that simply read “For Christianity”.

In a media statement to national news agency, Bernama, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala said Christian donors have also volunteered to ship in a new replacement consignment so long as the importers agree to have the same words “For Christianity” stamped on their covers in font type Arial size 16.

“No other words or serial numbers will be stamped on the bibles,” Jala added.

CFM is pondering accepting Putrajaya’s offer and has said will give its decision after consulting with all Christian leaders next week.

With Sarawakians going to the polls on April 16, the twin issues are expected to weigh on the minds of Christians who make up close to half of the hornbill state’s total population.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

A response to Idris Jala — Ng Kam Weng

March 24, 2011

MARCH 24 — On 23 March 2011, Datuk Seri Idris Jala, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, issued a press statement in The Star which gives the impression that the government has made a great offer to Christians in solving the Alkitab issue. Christians should remain guarded about the terms of the offer.

First, the press statement undermines trust in the negotiation process. CFM had earlier told Idris that it needed to consult the major stakeholders, the Christian leaders of Sarawak and Sabah, before getting back to him. But Idris evidently pre-empted the whole process and put up a one-sided statement before receiving a definite reply from CFM. Now the unfair impression is that the Christians are the bad guys holding up the process of settlement and refusing a good offer.

Second, the offer is not as good as it appears.

1) The words “For Christianity” is ambiguous and open to differing interpretations. Given the trajectory of this ongoing dispute, be assured that Umno and government officials will interpret the phrase to mean “For Christians only”.

Put the government’s suggestion in context: CFM had already made a compromise with the government in 2005 to print on the cover of the Alkitab the symbol of the cross, along with the caption “A Christian Publication”, even though there is no law that requires such an imprint. The government seemed satisfied then, and for a few years thereafter, that the imprint is sufficient to prevent confusion among “weak Muslims”. But even though the Christians acted in good faith, the government now has reneged on the agreement and wants to substitute it with the phrase, “For Christianity”, which is a questionable proposal that can only worsen the dispute in future.

2) The offer of a directive from the Director General to expedite future importation of the Alkitab is also of questionable value. Lawyers familiar with the government administrative process are doubtful of the effectiveness of the directive from the DG. Such directives have no force of law and can easily be changed/superseded by later directives. It is also an open question whether other government officials will follow the proposed directive (details of which remain unclear) since it stands in conflict with other gazetted government circulars.

Third, assuming that copies of the stamped Alkitab are released – does it then mean Christians can use the words Allah, Akhirat, Baitullah, Firman Allah, Imam, Injil, Nabi, Salat, and Wahyu? These words are proscribed by various State enactments but are used in the Alkitab.

The contradiction of the government position becomes glaring in light of the Mufti of Selangor's objection to the release of the Alkitab on grounds of some Islamic enactments by the State (even though the judgment by Lau Bee Lan in the High Court ruled these enactments to be invalid). It is reasonable to conclude that Muslim officials will “follow their religious conscience” and block future consignments.

Fourth, Idris offers himself as an honest broker in this dispute since he is a Christian and “the only Cabinet minister who is not a member of any political party.” I have no doubt that Idris is a committed Christian who sincerely believes he is just trying to be a peace-maker. But with all due respect (and good regard as a Christian brother), his present position does not qualify him to be a neutral mediator or honest broker. Party member or not, he is presently appointed to serve the ruling party and maintain loyalty to the Prime Minister. As such and with much regrets, the Christian community cannot view Idris as a person who can adequately represent the interests of the Christian community.

In short, it must be emphasized that there is presently no definite agreement between Idris/AG and the Christian leaders. I understand CFM is still deliberating the matter with Christian leaders from East Malaysia and will convey its considered response to the government in due time.

May truth and justice prevail and bring about a rational and peaceful solution to the situation.

* Dr Ng Kam Weng is research director of Kairos Research Centre, a Christian think-tank.

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NECF Statement on Idris Jala's Statement over Bible Release

23rd March 2011


The National Evangelical Christian Fellowship of Malaysia (NECF), one of the component bodies of the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) is disappointed that Minister in the Prime Minister Department Senator Datuk Idris Jala has released the press statement on BM Bibles to Carry "For Christianity" Stamp while deliberation and consideration are still ongoing within the various constituencies of the Christian community.

On 18 March 2011, Senator Datuk Idris Jala and the Attorney General, Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, met with representatives from the Christian Federation of Malaysia and other relevant Christian groups together with their legal advisers to present on behalf of the Government what is believed to be a workable solution for all parties.

At the end of the discussion, the representatives from the Christian Federation of Malaysia reiterated the need to refer to their respective church leaders and requested time to meet and discuss the matter further. The representatives also informed the Government that the Christian Federation of Malaysia would revert on their decision as soon as practicable since this matter has far reaching implications for Christians both in East and West Malaysia.

Hence NECF views the press statement released as premature and not true as the CFM has yet to meet and discussions are still ongoing.

Released by:
Sam Ang
NECF Malaysia

BM Bible to carry ‘For Christianity’ stamp

Wednesday March 23, 2011

THE following is the full press statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Seri Idris Jala on the Bahasa Malaysia Bible issue:

The Government wishes to reiterate that, since March 15, it had given the directive to release all Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia which had been impounded in Port Klang and Kuching.Wednesday March 23, 2011

However, to date, the Christian groups who imported the Bibles have yet to collect them because they do not accept the stamps and the serialisation on these Bibles.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein mentioned that the act of stamping and serialisation was standard protocol.

For example, Qurans imported into the country are also checked to ensure they are authorised, and are stamped with serial numbers before they are released.

Qurans which are not authorised are impounded and destroyed.

The act of stamping and serialisation of the Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia and the Qurans should not be perceived as desecration of holy scriptures.

A special Cabinet committee on this matter comprising the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister, Unity Minister, Minister in the PM’s Department

(Law and Parliamentary Affairs), Religious Affairs Minister and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department/CEO of Pemandu and the Attorney-General (AG) met on March 17 to discuss the issues at hand and find a fair and amicable solution.

The solution should take into account the polarity of views between the Christians and Muslims within the context of the existing laws of the country.

Subsequently, on March 18, Jala and Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, the Attorney-General, met with representatives from the Christian Federation of Malaysia, the Council of Churches of Malaysia, and other relevant Christian groups together with their legal advisors.

At this meeting, Jala said: “AG and I presented on behalf of the Government what we believe is a workable solution for all parties.”

The solution put forward by the Government is as follows:

> The BM Bibles currently impounded in Kuching and Port Klang will be released with the words “For Christianity” stamped clearly in Arial font, size 16, in bold. No other words or serial numbers will be stamped on the Bibles.

> To ensure that there is no misrepresentation in its implementation by civil servants, the Government will issue a directive from the director-general of the Home Ministry.

As with all similar directives, failure to comply with this directive will subject the relevant officers to disciplinary action under the General Orders.

> To highlight the Government’s commitment to resolving this issue amicably, the Government has received an offer from Christian donors

who are prepared to pay for the cost of all the Bibles that have already been stamped and serialised.

These BM Bibles can either be released in their present state (with stamps and serial numbers) or arrangements can be made to put stickers with the words “For Christianity” to cover the existing stamps and serial numbers. The choice is for the importers of these Bibles.

In the event they do not wish to take possession of these impounded Bibles in the present state, the Christian donors will pay for the full cost of new Bibles to be brought in with the words “For Christianity” printed at source or stamped with these words “For Christianity” by the Home Ministry at Port Klang and Kuching.

At the end of this meeting, the representatives from Christian groups requested time to meet and discuss, and have advised the Government that they would revert on their decision as soon as practicable.

Jala said: “In presenting the above solution, the AG and I have been authorised by the Prime Minister and the special Cabinet committee to convey the Government’s proposed solutions to the Christian groups.”

He further clarified: “I was requested to discuss this matter with the Christian groups in my capacity as Minister in the PM’s Department (not as CEO of Pemandu), as a Christian

and, more importantly, as the only Cabinet minister who is not a member of any political party.

“The Government wants this matter to be resolved amicably in a non-partisan manner and in line with the spirit of 1Malaysia. The AG’s involvement is obviously necessary because we have to ensure that the solution must be in the context of the existing laws of the country.”

The Government urges the Christian groups to collect the Bibles immediately for three reasons:

> The focus should be on getting the Bibles into the hands of people who want to read them; it has been established that the Home Ministry is not singling out the Bibles

for stamping and serialisation because this is also the same practice as they appear in the Quran.

> Notwithstanding (1) above, an arrangement has been made by the Government with the help of Christian donors to pay for the cost of all 30,000 impounded Bibles in Kuching and the 5,100 Bibles in Port Klang.

The importer can take these Bibles completely free of charge. If the Christian groups do not wish to take the Bibles, then the Christian donors have agreed to pay for the cost of bringing in new Bibles as replacement and these will be printed or stamped with the words “For Christianity”.

> The Government has agreed to issue a directive so that future Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia can be brought in as long as these have the words “For Christianity” in Arial font, size 16 either printed at source or stamped at the receiving port.

Finally, Jala said: “This is a fair and reasonable solution from the Government and with the help of Christian donors, all 35,100 Bibles are to be released completely free of charge at no cost at all to the importers.

“In addition, by virtue of the Government directive, there is an assurance from the Government that future Bibles in Bahasa Malaysia can be imported and released with the words ‘For Christianity’.” – Bernama


Unrest in Middle East rings prophetic

Chad Groening - OneNewsNow - 3/22/2011 3:40:00 AM

Israeli flag waving bigThe founder of a Messianic Jewish ministry says it's telling that virtually all the Middle East nations that have experienced unrest and turmoil in recent weeks have one thing in common: the Bible says they will turn against Israel in the last days.

For weeks, Egypt was the focus of massive demonstrations. Now neighboring Libya has taken center stage as Moammar Gadhafi attempts to hold onto the control of his country. So-called "pro-democracy" rallies have also sprung up in a number of smaller Islamic countries in the region.

Jan MarkellJan Markell, founder and director of Olive Tree Ministries says about these developments: "The Bible calls all of these nations the King of the South, from Egypt to Sudan to Yemen to a number of other Arab-Islamic nations that represent the King of the South. And all of these nations eventually will all come together and invade Israel in a battle that is outlined in the Bible. Well, is this setting the stage for this? I think it is. The Bible calls Israel the center of the earth."

Markell believes all the turmoil could lead to an evil regime taking over these countries so they can come together and try to annihilate Israel and wipe the very memory of its existence off the face of the earth.

The ministry director reminds people, however, that the Bible says Israel ultimately will prevail over its Islamic enemies.




当代批判思想大师乔姆斯基(Noam Chomsky)曾提出过观察世界局势时很重要的两个概念:“有价值的受害者”和“无价值的受害者”。它的意思是当今每个国家都有人受害,若该受害者符合 了大国的利益,它们就会视之为“有价值的受害者”,透过媒体宣传极力做文章,必要时还会藉此出兵,他儼然成了正义的守护人。若受害者不符他们的利益,纵使 死再多人,这些人也是“无价值的受害者”,死再多也毫无意义。

最近,阿拉伯世界动乱不休,沙地阿拉伯、巴林及也门都强力镇压,死了很多人,但这些人死了就死 了,镇压他们的是美英盟邦,他们都是“无价值的受害者”;相反的则是利比亚形同国家內战,西方企图让这场內战一直持续,让利比亚拖到国家崩溃为止。於是利 比亚的受害者全都成了“有价值的受害者”,出兵也就有了理由。由“有价值”和“无价值”的受害者这种说法已可看出,要出兵才是重点,找理由只不过是替出兵 做化粧而已。

西方联军的真正用意是要让利比亚的內战乱局一直拖下去。让利比亚分裂交战,才符合西方的利益。 西方不愿意看到卡达菲胜利,更不愿意见到基地组织在內战中崛起。我们不能疏忽了,奥沙马的基地组织如今虽困处阿富汗,但年来却在中东、北非和西非快速发 展,只要能取得利比亚和沙地阿拉伯任何一个石油大国,必可改变回教人民的命运。利比亚的交战民兵里,东部达拉城的那一支即由当过奥沙马司机的库姆所领导。

阿拉伯世界的茉莉花革命仍在继续,除了外行看热闹外,真正看门道的內行如美国中央情报局和空军 情报智库蓝德公司等,最近却非常提心吊胆。因为它们已警觉到,茉莉花革命在深层意义上,乃泛回教主义在阿拉伯世界趋向凝聚和快速发展,它们认为,茉莉花革 命打乱了旧的亲西方势力。西方透过控制埃及、沙地阿拉伯、科威特、也门、约旦等国而宰制阿拉伯世界的旧秩序,必將让位给泛回教主义的两大新兴势力。

这两大势力分別是:一、伊朗为中心的什叶派圣战组织势力,除了伊朗本身外,它还包括了黎巴嫩的 真主党,巴勒斯坦的哈玛斯,伊拉克、约旦、波斯湾国家巴林、以及沙地阿拉伯的部份地区等。特別值得注意的是近年来伊朗势力已快速在北非和西非南非扩展。这 意谓著西方的盟友如沙地阿拉伯、约旦等国已势力日衰,最坏的结果是沙地阿拉伯等甚至有政权被推翻之虞。

二、则是奥沙马在西方虽被丑化为恶魔版的恐怖份子,但在阿拉伯世界则是不世出的回教英雄。奥沙 马先祖为也门人,將他带往思想启蒙之路的是埃及的回教兄弟会,回教兄弟会创始於1928年,1954年起在埃及被非法化,此后即祕密发展其国际性的圣战理 念,启蒙了奥沙马,去年回教兄弟会推巴里亚为新的领袖,组织发展更速,將来埃及修宪大选,回教兄弟会不无可能取得政权。除了埃及可能变天外,更重要的是奥 沙马的基地组织业已以也门为中心,去年成立了“阿拉伯半岛基地组织”,將势力在沙地阿拉伯、伊拉克、利比亚,甚至非洲的索马里、肯亚及坦尚尼亚等地区快速 发展。由於也门是奥沙马的祖籍地,基地组织势力最旺,战士最多,有来自沙地阿拉伯、阿富汗、乌兹別克的国际军团。去年该组织几乎成功格杀也门的反恐司令, 格杀了也门一半反恐高干和突击监狱,解救了23名被囚的战士。由此可见也门基地组织的势力。






日前首相署部长伊德里斯和总检察长阿都干尼会见了马来西亚基督徒联盟(CFM),马来西亚教会理事会,马来西亚圣经公会等基督教团体,提出一个可行的方案:一、目前扣押在古晋港口和巴生港口的圣经将在封面上盖上“只供基督教”(For Christianity)字眼,没有印其他文字或序列号。二、不遵守内政部总监指示的公务员将面对纪律对付。三、政府接纳基督徒捐助准备支付全部已盖印和打上编号的圣经费用之献议,他们可以把它们流传,或是以“只供基督教”的贴纸遮盖印章和编号。





被扣押的35100本圣经内政部在没有获得进口者的同意盖上“只供基督徒”字眼和打上序列编号,进口者不愿取出圣经,政府亡羊补牢协议解决问题是好事。但伊德里斯的建议,对于此,CFMCCM,圣经公会等应该咨询多个教会的意见才决定。“For Christians Only”(只供基督徒)和“For Christianity”(只供基督教,我认为中文应该翻译为‘供基督教’,没有‘只’字)不应该成为使用马来文圣经条件,那么佛经和道教经也否也不免于同样要求?无论是什么宗教的经书,任何信仰的人士都应该赋予自由作学术研究,不等于接触就等于传教。其实马来文圣经向来已经印上“A Christian Publication”(一件基督教刊物)不是已经一目了然了吗?这是最恰当的用词!




(吉隆坡22日訊)首相署部長拿督斯里依德里斯指出,政府發出指示,未來所有進入大馬的馬來文版《聖經》,都必須印上“只供基督教”(For Christianity)的字眼。





“第一,這批聖經應該交給需要它的人士閱讀,而內政部也對從海外引進的可蘭經一視同仁,一律蓋 印和打上編號。第二,基督徒捐助者願意支付3萬本被扣押在古晉港口及5千100本被扣押在巴生港口的馬來文聖經蓋印和打上編號的費用;引進這批聖經的人士 可以不必付費領回這批聖經。”


他說,第三,政府已發出指示,日後所有進入大馬的馬來文聖經,都必須依據Arial字型大小16印上“只供基督教”(For Christianity)字樣,不管聖經是在出口地或是接收港口蓋章。








1,目前扣押在古晉港口及巴生港口的馬來文版《聖經》,將在聖經封面上清楚蓋上“只供基督教”(For Christianity)的字眼,沒有其他文字或序列號被印在聖經上。


3,為了突出政府解決這項課題的承諾,政府接納基督徒捐助者準備支付全部已蓋印和打上編號的聖經費用的獻議;他們可以把這些蓋印和打上編號的聖經國內流傳,或是在聖經上貼上“只供基督教”(For Christianity)字樣的貼紙,以遮蓋印章和打編號。









Find a way out of this deadlock

Sunday, March 20, 2011

by Wong Chun Wai

Don’t worry about the press. Just listen and come up with an amicable solution quickly to the issues at hand.

LET’S face it. The controversy over the status of the impounded Bahasa Malaysia Bible is almost certain to be an issue in the Sarawak state election unless the church and the authorities are able to resolve it within the next few days.

The Star has been issued a reprimand letter from the Home Ministry for reporting on the 5,000 impounded Bahasa Malaysia Bibles in a March 9 article. An editor of this newspaper represented me after we were asked to meet the ministry officials in Putrajaya.

While the reprimand letter is certain to lead to some cautiousness on the part of the print media, it is not going to stop the issue from being brought up on the Internet. This is the Digital Age and old-fashioned Analogue methods will not work as more mediums of information are available.

For that matter, the controversy would be taken up and, worse, exploited in ceramahs. It is, for sure, a hot topic in many places.

Furthermore, the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia can be downloaded in full from the Internet.

So, just take the trouble to listen and don’t worry about the press. It is certainly our responsibility to report on issues. As long as national security is not threatened, we have a duty to take up the views of the people.

The deadlock over the Bahasa Malaysia Bible has dragged on for too long and it has led to some urgency this time because of the impending Sarawak elections.

There is an estimated 40% of Christian voters in Sarawak. Among them are the Ibans and other indigenous groups, many of whom have consistently voted for the ruling party.

They have used Bahasa Malaysia in their worship, sermons and prayers. They are comfortable reading the Malay language Bible and many of their churches use Bahasa Malaysia names. These include the highly respected Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB).

Like it or not, the word “Allah” has long been a norm among Christian worshippers in Sabah and Sarawak to describe God. For that matter, the Peranakan community in Malacca also use that term of reference.

But many Malay Muslims feel that the term “Allah” should only be used exclusively by them. They are suspicious that the word, so closely associated with Islam, could be a ploy to convert Muslims.

In fact, 10 out of the 13 states here banned non-Muslims from using up to 35 Arabic terms including Allah, with Selangor banning the use of 25 words either orally or in writing.

The argument that the word “Allah” is used by Christians in Muslim countries like Egypt, Syria and even Indonesia isn’t likely to change the minds of most Muslims here. For religious and cultural reasons, that is something that has to be considered.

But the issue of the impounded BM Bibles has taken a turn for the worse. A decision to release the Bibles, which were printed in Indonesia, to appease Christians here has resulted in an unexpected reaction, at least for the authorities.

The church has refused to collect them and Christians are infuriated because of the require­ment to stamp the words “For Christians Only” on these Bibles. The move to put serial numbers on the Bibles has also upset many Christians.

By right, these Bibles should have been released in Sarawak without any conditions since the state does not have an enactment prohibiting the use of the word “Allah” among non-Muslims. Muslims in Sarawak are also used to the word being used by churches and it has never been an issue for them.

In short, if it is not an issue in Sabah and Sarawak, why is there a need to complicate the matter?

We do not have to be experts of the Constitution to know that state enactments cannot supersede the Federal Constitution. That is why the PAS-led Kelantan government cannot ban the sale of lottery tickets as it is provided for nationwide under federal law.

Religion may be state matters but the Federal Constitution reigns supreme with the guarantee of freedom to profess and practise one’s religion (Article 11).

There is a need for clearer guidelines. In Selangor, non-Muslims cannot use “Allah” but the word is in the state anthem. The police crest, which is worn by non-Muslims, also has the word “Allah”.

In fact, the decision to stamp the words “For Christians Only” could well be unconstitutional. The Federal Constitution is very clear on the right of Malaysians to religious freedom, even though there are laws that may control or restrict the propagation of any religious doctrine or belief among Muslims.

But there is no evidence that these imported Bibles would be used to propagate to Muslims. By putting conditions such as serial numbers and stamping “For Christians Only” on the Bibles, the authorities could well be exceeding their powers and even infringe the Federal Constitution.

If indeed these Bibles have been stamped, then there is a need to cover these words with stickers that say “Christian Publications”.

While there are certain laws that control or restrict the propagation of any religious belief or doctrine among Muslims, there are no such restrictions to people of other faiths or who are free thinkers.

To limit the Bible with a “For Christians Only” chop would deprive these others of access to the Bible. It would mean limiting their constitutional right to profess and practise their religion.

A better way out of this deadlock would be to use the words “Christian Publications”, which was reportedly accepted by all parties in 2005.

It is not clear whether the agreement was in writing, and why the change now, but there has to be a quick and amicable solution too. Religion is highly sensitive and the Home Ministry is right in reminding the media to be cautious. But rational reporting should be accepted and even encouraged. There’s a need to remove the emotive elements in the controversy. While the move to number and stamp the Bible may not be right, to claim that these are moves to “deface” or “desecrate” the Holy Book could be too emotive as well.

Without doubt, feelings have been hurt as this involves a sacred book. However, Bibles are sometimes stamped with the names of donors and, in some cases, they are also personalised to the owner’s style.

But when the stamping is done by the authorities, it takes on a different dimension.

The impasse is best resolved quickly. There is already an appeal to overturn a High Court decision allowing the Catholic Herald to use the word “Allah” in their Christian publications, of which there is no conclusion in sight. If a court challenge is made over the stamping and serial numbering, it would aggravate the situation.

There are no winners when religious disputes go to court. It is better resolved outside but there has to be sincerity from all sides as there cannot be ad hoc decisions and non-compliance to agreements. The church and the authorities have got to move on.

In this season of Lent, as we pray and prepare ourselves for Easter with repentance, fasting, spiritual discipline and moderation, let us remind ourselves that the Bible only comes alive because of our faith. The Bible, in the most perfect condition, will remain useless if it is just left on the shelf, untouched.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Is Japan Disaster Another Apocalyptic Sign?

japanquake1The crisis in Japan is worsening. At the same time, the situation in the Middle East is volatile. And let’s not forget last month’s seismic shock in New Zealand, Sumatra 9.1, Katrina, Rita, massive flooding in Australia, birds and fish dying around the world, and bees disappearing.

Even the secular media is using phrases like “of biblical proportions” to describe current events. Believers who recognize the signs of the times aren’t surprised, and high-profile evangelists are proclaiming that the end is near.

Jesus issued an ominous warning more than 2,000 year ago: “There shall be signs, and great earthquakes in various places...the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them for fear and for the expectation of those things that are coming upon the earth” (see Luke 21:11,25,26).

Does such an idea reflect merely the hardhearted ravings of religious fanatics bent on making a buck from humanity’s misery, or is it possible that planet earth is indeed approaching the biblical “end of days”?

Charisma magazine sat down with Steve Wohlberg, director of White Horse Media and author of 25 books, including Surviving Toxic Terrorism and End Time Delusions, to talk about why things will grow worse before they get better—and the eminent return of Jesus.

Charisma: What’s going on, Steve? Nobody knows the day or the hour of Jesus’ return, but the signs of the times appear evident.

Wohlberg: When you look at the trend of natural disasters—and many other types of disasters and other things that are happening in the world—it seems pretty clear to me that we are seeing an escalation of large-scale problems on the planet. To me, these are indicators that we are getting closer to the return of Jesus Christ. As you mentioned, nobody knows the day or the hour so I’m very careful not to set any kind of dates.

Charisma: Are tsunamis mentioned in the Bible as part of the end times?

Wohlberg: I used to consider the end of Luke 21:25—“the sea and the waves roaring”—as the sea of humanity being full of turmoil. But then when the big tsunami rolled across the ocean after the Sumatra earthquake, I relooked at this verse and I think it certainly applies to a big wave rolling across the ocean. When the Japanese earthquake hit, it actually moved the whole island of eight feet, and then the tsunami occurred right away.

Charisma: The sweeping fear in the hearts of men is also telling. Japan’s emperor is deeply concerned and praying.

Wohlberg: In Luke 21:26, Jesus said, “Men’s hearts will be failing them for fear and for looking after those things which are coming upon the earth, for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.” That sure sounds like what’s happening now. People are afraid. They are concerned. In the next verse, verse 27, Jesus says, “Then shall they see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads for your redemption is drawing near.”

Jesus talks about earthquakes, pestilences, famines, fearful sights from heaven, all kinds of different things. When you look at what’s happening on earth right now, it sure seems to me that things are lining up with what Jesus predicted. So I believe that we are getting closer to the return of the Lord.

Charisma: I’ve never seen anything like this in my life—the convergence of events. Between Christian persecution, terrorism threats, the earthquakes and tsunamis, the revolution in the Middle East, and a number of other events over the past few years…

Wohlberg: On Friday (March 11) when the earthquake hit Japan and the tsunami was rolling across the ocean, I was watching Shepard Smith on Fox News. He was covering the quake, covering the tsunami, then he bounced over to Khadafy and what’s going on in Libya, and then he bounced over to Saudi Arabia and the “Day of Rage.”

Smith interviewed somebody that said that if Saudi Arabia is wracked with civil war like Egypt and like Libya it has the potential to bring down the economy of America because we are totally dependent upon oil. Saudi is the main place where we get our oil. Smith made a comment right on the air. He said, “I’ve been covering the news for a long time and this is a new day in news. We’ve never seen all of these things of such magnitude happening at the same time.” When I heard him say that, I just had this apocalyptic sense that this is what’s going on.

Charisma: So what’s the bottom line?

Wohlberg: It’s going to get worse before it gets better. But the good news is that when it’s all over, it’s going to get really good. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Bible says that Jesus is going to come and He is going to get rid of sin. Satan is not going to have the upper hand like he does right now. God is going to put down evil.

Revelation Chapter 21 says that eventually there will be a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and first earth will pass away. There will be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain for the former things have passed away.

I’m not a doom-and-gloomer. I certainly don’t consider myself to be a far-right religious fanatic that’s raising the sign saying, “The end is near.” I have a wife. I have two little kids. I’m a student of prophecy. The indicators are all flashing right now that we are getting closer to the coming of Jesus. When things really get bad, the difference will be apparent between those that are genuine Christians that are trusting in Jesus and the rest of the world.

Charisma: In what ways do you expect it to grow worse?

Wohlberg: In Revelation 16, we have the seven last plagues described. Those are going to devastate the planet. That’s right before the Second Coming of Christ. Those plagues haven’t started yet but they are coming at some point. And in Revelation Chapter 16, verses 18 and 19, it describes a “great earthquake such as was not since men where upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake and so great.” And as a result of that quake, it says that the cities of the nations fell. That’s the final spasm right before the Second Coming.

The Haiti quake, the Japan quake, the Pakistan quake, and other things like this, are indicators of a much larger catastrophe that is coming. I wish it wasn’t the case but that’s what I see. All of this is the tragic outworking of sin. When Adam and Eve chose to follow Satan that brought sin into the world. The sin is here. The planet is suffering. People are suffering. And a loving God is allowing these catastrophes and the demonstration of the consequences of human sin so that when He finally intervenes and ends it that He can end it permanently and it will be over forever. That’s why He’s allowing this.

Stay tuned for part two of this interview tomorrow, where we explore controversies like whether or not the crisis in Japan is the judgment of God.

Read more:

Monday, March 14, 2011

Labels in Mahathir memoirs ticking ‘time-bombs’

Joe Fernandez | March 14, 2011

Anyone who has seen Malayalam movies on Astro can tell right away that Mahathir has a typical Malayalee face.


Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has come in for a lot of heat over chunks of the contents in his 843-page memoirs, ‘A Doctor in the House’. Let’s leave aside the fact that ‘A Doctor in the House’ was a 1955 comedy directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Dirk Bogarde, Muriel Pavlov and Kenneth More.

There’s also a British TV series ‘Doctor in the House’ which ran from 1969 to 1970.

The easiest thing to do would be to dismiss the RM100 book as a work of fiction, an elaborate spin, a whitewash job for a man on the verge of degenerating into a pitiful clown, a settling of scores with his many foes, a comedy of errors and perhaps even a crafty attempt late in the day to still determine the agenda when others do any number of follow-ups. There are any number of labels in Mahathir’s memoirs.

Delving into his ethnic origins, Mahathir is forced to admit that “some Indian blood” – as an afterthought South Asian, he spins, in a botched attempt at obscuring his origin – runs in his veins “but he doesn’t know from which part of India his people came”.

This is something very difficult to swallow considering what he clearly told JV Morais in 1982 in ‘Mahathir: A Profile in Courage’. This book tells us that Mahathir hailed on his father’s side from Kerala, Southwest India. There’s little mention of his mother’s side. Morais, a Malayalee himself, would have got his facts right on this score since Kerala is not that big a place.

Incidentally, ‘Profiles in Courage’, is also the name of a book written by the late US President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

Mahathir was not off to a good start in ‘A Doctor in the House’ unless he was confessing that he suffers from an identity crisis and can’t really help his schizophrenic self or that he, for all his bravado, indeed suffers from a deep-seated inferiority complex.

Anyone who has seen Malayalam movies on Astro can tell right away that Mahathir has a typical Malayalee face. This has somehow ended up as a chapter in Mahathir’s memoirs entitled, “I am a Malay”. If he is Malay, as he routinely claims from time-to-time, why would he need to advertise the obvious fact unless he isn’t sure of himself?

If not for Article 153 in the Federal Constitution and the New Economic Policy, would Mahathir claim so proudly to be a Malay? If a man cannot admit who he is, can we believe him on all the other things he tells us in his memoirs? There’s a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde side to Mahathir’s personality.

It was Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew himself who brought to the attention of the late Sultan of Johore that Mahathir had written Indian Muslim in the space for race when applying to join the University of Malaya in Singapore as a medical student. Lee gave the Sultan a copy of Mahathir’s application form. Mahathir, we learn, was not really completely qualified to enter the university but they let him in anyway to make up the numbers. Another notable omission from Mahathir’s memoirs.

Masking the truth

This also explains why Mahathir never really practiced as a doctor for long although he named his practice in Alor Star as Maha Clinic to impress upon patients that they were visiting an Indian clinic run by an Indian doctor.

Initially, he had one other Indian doctor at the clinic to stand in for him as he busied himself with politics. This doctor was often not paid for four months at a stretch and eventually left. This little story, common knowledge among medical graduates from India, is not mentioned in Mahathir’s memoirs. Mahathir would have won credits if he had candidly acknowledged in his memoirs that he was so broke at one time that he couldn’t even afford to pay his clinic doctor.

Ever since then, Mahathir has been busy trying to reduce the number of Indians who become doctors in Malaysia. He has a fixation with Indians becoming doctors and lawyers.

Mahathir’s ethnic origins and early doctoring attempts aside, his memoirs are generally not so important for what it tells but more important for what it omits, either completely or under various labels. This would provide fodder for the rumour-mills to start churning for months, if not years, to come.

Consider such ticking “time-bombs” as Lee Kuan Yew wanted to be Prime Minister of Malaysia; former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, a Thai, was too corrupt and had to be laid off; former Deputy Prime Anwar Ibrahim was involved in numerous sexual escapes and was therefore found morally unfit to govern, and that former Finance Minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah was into money politics and must be held responsible for Umno being declared unlawful in the wake of the 1987 party elections.

Mahathir had it right on Lee, has forgotten that it was he and not Razaleigh who was into money politics and didn’t tell us anything new on Daim and Anwar. Instead, he didn’t get the perspective right on Daim and Anwar because that would have meant knocking his own carefully-cultivated public image.

Daim fell out with Mahathir because he initially failed and later gave a very much watered down accounting of the old Umno assets. Mahathir saw red and amidst rumours of Daim being under house arrest and detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA), the then Finance Minister was dispatched into political oblivion.

Anwar, Mahathir discovered to his utter shock, was even more of a novice in economics than when he became Prime Minister in 1981. He decided that there was “no way in hell that his deputy would succeed him”. Rather than admit his poor judgment, Mahathir dredged out Anwar’s “sexual escapes” and decided to hang him with it and dismissed him as “morally unfit to govern”. If not for the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, notwithstanding his sexual escapes, Anwar would have succeeded Mahathir as Prime Minister. The 1987 crisis proved that the would-be Emperor – Anwar – had no clothes.

Taking shelter behind even more labels, Mahathir has admitted that he has “made many mistakes but dismissing Anwar was not one of them”. If only Mahathir could tell the real reason why Anwar was dismissed from office! Mahathir, by masking the truth, has allowed many people to think that Anwar is Prime Minister material.

Man with no friends

When Razaleigh writes his memoirs, he will reveal that Mahathir at one time had no friends. So, he latched on to the Kelantan prince who was then chairman of Bank Bumiputera and Petronas.

He would park himself in front of Razaleigh at his office from morning, would accompany the man for luncheon and get chased out after that to permit some work to get done, only to return later in the evening for dinner.

Razaleigh has never forgiven Mahathir and joins a long list including Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn, Mustapha Harun, Daim and Musa Hitam. The last two, like Razaleigh and Samy Vellu, were shocked by Mahathir’s economic incompetence.

When Mahathir drove the economy into recession in 1986 with his austerity drive and shocked Razaleigh and Musa, only Daim and Samy Vellu stood by him and helped him out of his ignorance to rescue the economy.

Mahathir was a quick learner in crisis. Both Daim and Samy don’t get any credits in Mahathir’s memoirs. The former has instead been tarred black.

The 1986 recession was the spark that culminated in Razaleigh, backed by Musa, challenging Mahathir for the Umno presidency in 1987.

Daim came with wads of cash withdrawn from HSBC and rescued Mahathir during the break for Friday prayers on voting day.