Malaysian PM assures Christian minority

Christians were angry at seizure of Malay language Bibles with word "Allah".

Updated: Apr 13, 2011, 20:39 PM IST

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia`s Prime Minister
Najib Tun Razak has assured the country`s minority Christian
community, angry over seizure of Malay language Bibles using
the word "Allah", that such incidents will not occur again.

Razak`s remarks come following protests by Christians
after the government impounded Bibles imported into the
country from Indonesia.

Authorities had impounded the Malay-language Bibles
amid a government ban on the use of the word "Allah" as a
translation for God.

Minister in the Prime Minister`s Department Senator
Idris Jala today said Najib made the commitment during a
dialogue with church leaders from the Association of Churches
Sarawak (ACS) today.

"As far as the Prime Minister is concerned, he`s made
a very clear commitment that the issue should not recur. He
made it very explicit to the meeting today," Idris told
reporters.

Idris said Najib also spoke about the need for
national reconciliation.

"If there is hurt that exists between ourselves as a
multi-racial, multi-religious society, it is important that we
find ways to reconcile," Idris said.

The Government, recently, decided to allow the Bible
in all languages to be imported into the country, while also
allowing Malay language Bibles to be printed locally, a move
seen as the Government`s olive branch to minority Christians
who have been upset over seized shipments of their Holy book.

However, in the Peninsular Malaysia, the Bible in
Bahasa Malaysia/Indonesia, imported or printed, must have the
words "Christian Publication" and the cross sign printed on
the front cover, the Government said in a ten-point solution
to the minority Christian community recently.

The government`s offer came just weeks before the
April 16 elections in Sarawak state on Borneo island, where
Christians account for more than 40 per cent of the
population.

Muslim majority Malaysia has a 25 per cent ethnic
Chinese population which is Christians or Buddhists and eight
per cent ethnic Indians mostly Hindus.

All races are allowed to follow their religion.

PTI