Category Archives : Governance


MAIS’ “Defense” on the Bible Society Raid


MAJLIS AGAMA ISLAM SELANGOR
PRESS STATEMENT OF SELANGOR ISLAMIC RELIGIOUS COUNCIL (MAIS) ON THE ENFORCEMENT OF THE NON-ISLAMIC RELIGIONS (CONTROL OF PROPAGATION AMONGST MUSLIMS) ENACTMENT 1988 IN SELANGOR

The following press statement is made to clarify the action taken by Selangor Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) being the Islamic affairs law enforcement agency in the state of Selangor.

MAIS would like to reiterate that the action taken by JAIS on January 2, 2014, to enter the Bible Society of Malaysia business premises in Damansara Kim, Petaling Jaya, and consequently seized a number of the Bible (Al-Kitab) in Malay version of which includes a few Malay printed copies of the Gospel of Luke wherein the name “Allah” appears in the said Bible was in accordance with the powers conferred upon them under the law, particularly under the Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Amongst Muslims) Enactment, 1988 (hereinafter referred to as ‘the 1988 Enactment’).

The inspection and investigation by JAIS were done after complaints have been lodged by the public regarding the publication of the Bible (Al-Kitab) wherein the name’Allah’ is used in the Bible (Al-Kitab) which if it proven is an offence under Section 9 of the 1988 Enactment.

Pursuant to the provisions under the 1988 Enactment, JAIS has the jurisdiction and power to investigate offences committed by Muslims as well as non-Muslims under this Enactment. Section 12 read together with the Schedule of the 1988 Enactment provides the power to conduct inspection and investigation to the officers from JAIS department as well as the police officers.

MAIS also would like to emphasize that the action by JAIS was not initiated on the basis that the Bible were printed in Malay language but due to fact that the name “Allah” was used in the said Bible which merits an investigation to determine whether such publication contravene the provision of Section 9 of the 1988 Enactment. Unfortunately, the media and also the statement from the Chairman of the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC) have made various inaccurate allegations as reported in newspapers stating that the actions by JAIS in confiscating the said Bible printed and published in Malay Language was inappropriate and illegal. The action by these parties is regrettable because they have made statement without finding out the accurate facts.

MAIS also would like to highlights that JAIS has no obligation to inform any parties regarding any inspection and investigation because it may hamper the investigation’s process. However, the recent action by JAIS was done after.MAIS took a stance in its monthly meeting that JAIS must act on the complaints lodged by the public with regards to the offences under Enactment 1988 or in other words to enforce the existing laws in Selangor.

JAIS’s action should not be misunderstood as an act of interfering with the constitutional right of anyone to profess and practice their religions as enshrined under the Federal Constitution. This is because JAIS’s action was merely to enforce the law which was enacted to prevent the propagation of other religious doctrine or belief amongst the Muslims. Thus, it has nothing to do with any attempts to intervene with the rights and freedom of other religions to perform their religious practices.

The public is hereby reminded that besides the 1988 Enactment which prevents other religions from using the name “Allah”, there is also a fatwa issued by the Selangor Fatwa Committee which was gazetted on February 18, 2010, prohibiting the use of the name “Allah” by the non-Muslim in their religions. The state’s fatwa is also consistent with the decision pronounced during the 82nd National Fatwa Committee for Islamic Religious Affairs in Malaysia.

Besides that, the Court of Appeal on October 14, 2013 in the case of Minister of Home Affairs & 8 Others v. Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur (Civil Appeal No. W-01-1-2010) has held that the use of the name”Allah” in The Herald-The Catholic Weekly will cause confusion within the community and the name”Allah”certainly does not form as an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity. Although the Court of Appeal’s decision is being appealed at the Federal Court, such decision is still binding on all parties.

Pursuant to the fatwa which was issued at the State and National level along with the decision by the Court of Appeal, and taking into consideration the existence of the 1988 Enactment, His Royal Highness the Sultan of Selangor, as the head of the religion of Islam in Selangor, after consultation with Selangor Council of the Royal Court decided that any future action to be taken by the Selangor religious enforcement body must be in line with the provisions of 1988 Enactment.

Under such circumstances, MAIS urges the public not to make this into an issue so that the investigation can be completed without any undue influence and to ensure a fair and effective investigation.

DATO’ SETIA HAJI MOHAMAD ADZIB BIN MOND ISA PENGERUSI MAIS


Malaysian Passports, 2013 edition

If you’re going to be renewing your Malaysian passport beginning the second half of 2013 onwards (aka August and beyond), note the following:

  • Your passport photos must now have a WHITE or OFF-WHITE background
  • There are no more machines, so you need grab a number, wait for it to be called, submit your passport, then wait again as your number will be called again and you can make payment.

How long will the process take? Depending on what time you go and how hardworking the staff is, anywhere from 40 minutes (HAH!) to 3 hours (most likely). You should also be aware that it’s a two step process: First you have to submit a form, your old passport (if applicable), your NRIC and 2 photos on a white background to the officer. Once they’ve had a look through, you’ll then wait for the same number to be called at the next counter to pick up your NRIC and make payment (RM100 for 2 years, RM300 for 5 years).

Collection is the next day.


[Politics] Eternal Vigilance

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance” – John Philpot Curran.

There are many good posts and updates on Facebook about yesterday’s results. I will not repeat them here. However, I think everyone should think long and hard about this:

The next five years, my fellow Malaysians, will be the dirtiest we have seen. It will be the ugliest. UMNO, and by extension, Barisan Nasional, will depend on the “us vs them” rhetoric to shore up their support in the rural areas. In fact, Najib, the leader of UMNO, has already fired the first salvo yesterday by claiming it was a “Chinese Tsunami” that threatened its dominance and reduced its majority in Parliament further.

They will attempt to create an emotional response and use that to blind and break us every time we question, resist, or protest their schemes, ideas and projects. Sometimes they will use it even to hide their own shortcomings. It will be one of those “storm in a teacup” moments, where everyone will forget all about the main issue and focus on only that one small thing (anyone remember that “leaking” remark made by Bung Mokhtar which lead to a massive outcry? Yes? Do you remember what prompted it, without referring to Google? No?* I thought so).

Democracy is not just the event of throwing our votes every 5 years. It is a journey of nation-building. It is hard, ongoing, and consistent work. If we want to build a better Malaysia, then we must be prepared to work for it.

Question. Listen. Understand. Agree to disagree.

That is what democracy is.

* If you DO remember what the issue is, I salute you!


Leadup to Bersih 3.0

Bersih 3.0 is a rally calling for clean and fair elections in Malaysia. So far they have had 3 rallies. The second one was last year, and it presented 8 demands to the government:

  • Clean the electoral roll
  • Reform postal voting
  • Use of indelible ink
  • A minimum campaign period of 21 days
  • Free and fair access to mainstream media
  • Strengthen public institutions
  • Stop corruption
  • Stop dirty politics

What followed after last year’s massive rally was a Parliamentary Select Committee that was supposed to address the concerns Bersih had made. The report made it to Parliament, where they refused to allow a dissenting minority report to be entered, along with the main report. There was also no time frame stipulated to implement the recommendations.

What happened after that was far more sinister. A “stop the clock” motion was granted for the first time in years to allow Barisan Nasional, the ruling coalition with a slim majority, bulldoze 8 motions through Parliament. One of the 8 motions removes the safeguards to preventing electoral fraud and AIDS dirty politics. Here, have a read for yourself:

What this means is that the demand to clean the electoral roll wasn’t just ignored. It was brutally spat upon by the Elections Commissions. By the way, the heads of the Elections Commissions have admitted they are part of UMNO, the lead of Barisan Nasional.

And the response, as you can see in the report linked, is that “that’s not a big deal. They’re still doing their job without bias.”

Which is rather sickening when you consider that the gerrymandering and malapportionment is well and alive in Malaysia today.

Which was the reason why I marched yesterday.