(This post was posted on 15-4-2011 in Mandarin)
The Akitab (Malay language Bible) issue has been around for many months. We have seen dialogue and offer back and forth between government and Christian bodies... with Idris Jala, a Christian and Minister in the Prime Minister's department, coming into the picture, presenting a 10-point solution, implying that the issue has been resolved ....
No, the issue has not been resolved! In actual fact, Government's overture seemed to be one step forward, two steps backward .... it simply lacked sincerity and the trust of the communities concerned.
Yesterday's news reported that, with the impounded Akitab being claimed by the importer, the issue has been settled (paper cutting top right - Impounded Bibles has been claim. “Bible issue resolved" - Idris Jala). Again, this is not true, the issue has not yet been settled!
The Bible issue is tip of the iceberg. The iceberg (core issue) is: The "systematic and gradual constriction" and erosion of basic human rights protected by the Federal Constitution.
" We Catholics remain united with our fellow Malaysians of other religious traditions, who have suffered a systematic and gradual constriction of public space for expression of our religious identity. Christians and non-Christians alike suffer restrictions in the form of the freedom to display and use religious symbols, prohibitions and unreasonable restrictions placed on construction of places of worship, the absence of burial land, the distortion of our history books and other issues concerning both religious freedom and other civil liberties." (Pastoral letter of Archbishop Murphy Pakiam dated April 1, 2011.
The banning of the use of the word "Allah" and impounding of 35100 copies of Malay language Bible (Alkitab) are two of the many restrictions and harassment.
The Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) in a statement dated March 30 noted: ...."there has been a progressive pushing back " of Christian rights ---dating back to the 1980s ---namely the right to practise, profess and express their faith.
The printing permit of Herald the Catholic Weekly was not being renewed because it used the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia section. The case was brought to the High Court and judgement was made in favour of Herald. Government is appealing against the decision.
On April 14, mainstream media reported that with the 10-point solution and the collection of impounded Bibles by the respective importers, the Bible issue has been resolved.
Not true. Impounded Bible issue has been settled, the core issue is still not resolved, no even the issue of banning of the use of Allah.
The 10-point solution is to resolve the Bible issue. Instead it has divided the Christian Churches into 2 category - the East Malaysia Churches (no restriction) and the West Malaysia churches (with restrictions). (Bishop Paul Tan of Melak-Johor Diocese called it the 1 nation, 2 rules policy)
And it caused division and disunity among the churches.
In response to the 10-point overture by the government on April 2, the Christian Federation of Malaysia (CFM) expressed welcome and caution. Due to the gravity of the issue, the CFM would need to meet and deliberate on this matter (among member leaders both from Peninsular as well as from Sabah and Sarawak).
"There is no hurry for us to come up with an answer for the government's latest offer, even though the government seem to have a dateline (Sarawak election on April 16)" (Fr. Michael Chua wrote in Herald, April 10)
It meant slowly, no hurry and be careful.
But no so for Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS), a member of Council of Churches in Malaysia (CCM) which is a member of CFM.
As if on cue, follow the script (directed by God knows who), ACS under the Chairmanship of Bishop Bolly Lapok announced that they accepted the 10-point resolution issued by the Government with thanks and gratitude.
A meeting of ACS leaders with the Prime Minister was arranged by Idris Jala. Every one seemed to be happy with the outcome. An impeccable timing and good show.
Was it the sweetness of the carrot or the weight of the stick ?
On April 8. the CCM Youth issued a statement reject outright the 10-point solution issued by Idris Jala. It was the first and only church group who has made stand on the resolution.
Bishop Bolly Lapok is one of the 3 Vice-Presidents of CCM.
所以，『马来西亚基督教联盟』 (The Christian Federation of Malaysia -CFM)对10点方案表示欢迎，但因为它的影响深远，所以保持谨慎，并表示需要多一点时间去研究，包括召集联盟会议来商议，才做出反应。（也就是说：别急别急，小心小心！）
事实上，这策略马上就立竿见影！『马来西亚基督教联盟』的盟友，『砂劳越联合教会』（Association of Churches in Sarawak - ACS）很快的脱颖而出，迫不及待的，而且也很配合的在砂劳越州选举投票前，宣布接受政府的10点方案。也因此，首相纳吉特别和该联合会的委员见面，场面愉快轻松，高兴，皆大欢喜。
我不知道是政府的红萝卜太香甜呢，还是大木棒太可怕了，联合会的行动及节拍无瑕可击，非常的 on cue。该会主席波里拉博主教还很感激，感恩政府的慷慨及善意。。。。
虽然『砂劳越联合教会』像似一厢情愿，但内部也有声音。『马来西亚教会协会』(Council of Churches of Malaysia -CCM)（天主教不是会员）青年组是第一个，也是目前为止，唯一站出来直截了当拒绝政府10点方案的团体。
马来西亚基督教联盟(CFM) 的成员是马来西亚教会协会(CCM) 及马来西亚天主教主教会议。