Christians as Convenient Collateral Damage in Political Contest between Putra Jaya and Selangor Government

BSM officials complied with an order to report to JAIS. After the meeting, BSM put the blame of the raid onto the Selangor government. BSM further suggested since Putra Jaya kept its word, therefore, Selangor must formally accept the 10-point solution to assure BSM of its concerns. Understandably, the Selangor government wants to wait for Putra Jaya first to publicly affirm its ongoing commitment to the 10-point before responding to BSM’s suggestion.

Instead of (re)taking public ownership of the 10-point, the Prime Minister who personally signed the 10-point in 2011 has chosen to remain silent. Furthermore, the de facto Law Minister’ Nancy Shukri put the problem squarely on Selangor state. In effect, Putra Jaya has abandoned the 10-point and abdicated from its original commitment.

It would be laudable if Putra Jaya first renewed its commitment to the 10-point, reprimanded JAIS for the raid, and then approached the Selangor government for assistance to ensure compliance of the 10-point.

While blaming the Selangor government, Putra Jaya maintains contact with BSM. This being the case, one may venture a possible outcome (this outcome is contingent as it is based only on logical analysis of complex political dynamics rather than prophetic insight):

The Prime Minister’s Department eventually ‘persuades’ JAIS to return the Bibles to BSM (most likely without an apology) and declares that while Selangor has been unwilling or unable to act, Putra Jaya delivered on its word to help BSM. Putra Jaya earned kudos while giving a black eye to the Selangor government.

Admittedly, this is just a surmise, but it is not an impossible scenario. Following this possible outcome, BSM is happy it got back the Bibles (without an apology from JAIS). JAIS is happy since a precedent has been set whereby it was able to raid a Christian institution without a search warrant. Putra Jaya is happy as it orchestrated successfully a political embarrassment for the Selangor government. The rest of the Malaysian church is supposed to be happy as BSM ‘solved’ the Allah-Bible dispute and averted disaster (saved) for the Malaysian church.

Would you be happy?

 

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Added on 24 Jan 2014

Blaming Selangor Government is Barking at the Wrong Tree

Excerpt from Malaysiakini 03 Jan 2014

Expert: Jais under sultan, not MB LINK

Those urging Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to intervene following the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department’s (Jais) raid on a Christian organisation are barking up the wrong tree, a legal expert said.

Constitutional law professor Abdul Aziz Bari said that this is because Jais answers to the Selangor sultan and not to the state government.

As head of Islam in Selangor, both Jais, “which normally runs the routine administration”, and the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais) are part of the “sultan’s hierarchy” and “authority”.

“They…must understand that constitutionally, Islam is a matter under the power of the sultan and he can act with or without the MB’s advice.

“If the sultan decides not to do anything – which is the case most of the time – the MB or his executive council may do things. However, the moment the sultan puts his foot down, the MB has to step aside,” he said in an email to Malaysiakini.

However, he said this does not necessarily mean that the raid of the Bible Society Malaysia (BSM) itself was legal, and that this is up for further discussion.

Federal gov’t behind raid?

Meanwhile, police presence at Thursday’s raid also raises “interesting” questions, he added.

“Does that mean that the federal government, which holds jurisdiction over the police, is also behind the raid on the Bible Society premises?” he asked.

Abdul Aziz was responding to Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang, who urged MB Khalid to explain the seizure of 321 Bahasa Malaysia Bibles – Alkitab – from BSM’s premises in Damansara yesterday.

 

5 Comments

  1. Sarah Yap says:

    No I will not be happy. But after reading Rom 12 a few days ago, I was convicted through the last few verses to stop praying all sorts of ‘unkind’ stuff on the people behind this. I found it really hard to pray blessings on them. I am still trying… My prayer for us – Lord may you unite the Church here though all this.

  2. Nehemiah Lee says:

    I agree with your prediction but not necessarily happy with it. In fact, very unhappy with it. This is typically how our politicians ‘solve’ problems of the day. It is always ad hoc and playing to the gallery. Nothing is really solved in the end. Problems will continue to simmer underneath until it errupts another day.

  3. Simon CH Wong says:

    Dr. Ng, you have given a good logical analysis on the federal-state political chess game. The ‘prophetic insight’ is amusing but a bit presumptuous since Dr. Ng was not a privy to BSM meetings, dialogues and consultations with Federal and State officials. I tend to have more faith that the Jais raid will result in richer blessings for the church despite the turmoil and turbulence. A case in point: KDN detention of BM Bibles in March 2009, eventual release in March 2011, issuance of Cabinet 10 points in April 2011, and the resultant BSM’s 1-million BM Bible distribution project. I believe God had turned a 2009 negative event into a modern “5-loaf 2-fish” miracle to bless hundreds of thousands of BM Bible users in our country over the last two years. I believe the Jais raid will be turned into another divine miracle for His glory and edification of His church. It’s a matter of time for all to behold!

  4. Meng Yew says:

    Ketuanan Melayu… Ketuanan Islam… They can’t co-exist with our Federal Constitution. The erosion of basic civil liberties and religious freedom continues. Is this the beginning of the end for Malaysia’s Constitution? http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/almost-there-the-end-of-democratic-constitutionalism-in-malaysia-clive-kess

  5. Eugene Yapp says:

    Dear Kam Weng,

    Thank you for your modest but insightful,logical analysis of political dynamics interplay between the governments and state actors. While your surmise is based on logic and the current social-political trends rather than any prophetic insights,the point made is useful to instruct the church. Whether the analysis is presumptuous or not is besides the point and immaterial to the current discourse the church as the body of Christ needs to be instructed. Here, the church, the body of Christ needs to be appraised thus.

    Firstly,the National Fatwa Council has already made a statement to the effect that the raid on BSM “was done according to the provision of law and with the decree of the Sultan of Selangor, and there is no need to return the seized books”. That being the case, it would be naive and perhaps a tat too hopeful for JAIS on its own accord to have the bibles returned. Should JAIS do so, logic dictates that State political actors would have been behind the move.

    Secondly, even if the bibles were to be returned or the so called 10 Points affirmed, that cannot be regarded as the conclusion of the matter. The fact remains that in making the raid and seizing copies of the bibles on the alleged offence that the word “Allah” was in used, JAIS has acted in a manner that calls into question and has substantially reduced our democratic space on one of humankind fundamental liberties, the right to freedom of religion. That this space is essential and integral to the fundamentals of our Christian faith is borne out by the fact that historically and contextually, Christianity is a missionary faith. So, beyond looking at just a simple solution of having the bibles returned, the church, the body of Christ in Malaysia ought to be looking at preserving if not enlarging our democratic space to freedom of religion so essential to ensure the complete practice and profession of our faith or for that matter any other faiths.

    Thirdly, while Christians ought to bear in mind that our God is able to overrule circumstances and work for good to those who love him, Christians ought to be mindful that we do not “over-realised” our faith to the extend of anticipating miracles of sought in every respect against the harsh realities and circumstances of the day. That Jesus dictated to those who wish to follow him to “deny themselves, take up the cross and follow him” would suggest that against the miracles of the day, bearing the shame, living out hard times for the sake of truth, justice and righteousness may be the order of the day.

    While Kam Weng, your surmise here is predicated on logical analysis and what others may regard as presumptuous, the possibility of such a surmise cannot be totally excluded. That being the case, it would be wise if the Christian’s posture should be one that is provisional and modest; resting on the hope that God will intervene for his own and yet preparing for what might be termed, difficult and unhappy days ahead.

    For that, we have you Kam Weng to thank for alerting and reminding the church of harsh possibilities and realities ahead.