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?
Added on 24 Jan 2014
Blaming Selangor Government is Barking at the Wrong Tree
Excerpt from Malaysiakini 03 Jan 2014
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.