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The impounding of imported Bible from Indonesia written in Bahasa Melayu-BM (Malay) by Malaysian custom is deplorable. After a hue and cry from the Christian community, the Bibles are finally released on condition that each copy should bear a variety of stamps. This stamping business is seen as a defacement of the Holy Book.

The contention of some people is that the Bible can be in any language but not BM in Malaysia. One rather influential blogger chose to fan this abnormal distaste about BM-Bible that many of his visitors vented their anger and even suggested that the Bible could be written in Kadazan, an ethnic group in East Malaysia, who are mainly Christians. I found the suggestion childish. I posted a comment on the blog about being fair and reasonable but as expected my well-meaning comment on religious tolerance was not published!

For more than 20 years now Malaysia has been promoting BM as the main language. All the medium of instruction in secondary schools are in BM since 1983. Many ethnic groups know the language very well. I think some Kadazan families communicate more in BM than their own language. Yet when the Non-Muslim want to practice their faith in BM, they are unceremoniously told that they can not. This is not logical at all.

I hope the government would take a firm step to protect the rights of all citizens in line with the country’s constitution on the freedom to worship. We cannot let paranoid individuals impose unreasonable demands on the use of other people’s holy texts, creating chasms in our society.

There appears to be no sense of empathy for people who profess a different faith. At times I wish that these intolerant people get reincarnated as those whom they victimise when they were alive! I am not a Buddhist by the way.

If our faith is strong we should not worry about our people converting to another religion by just reading their Holy book! Should we feel thus, we need to work harder to internalise our belief. It is the substance rather than the form which matters.

Religious paranoia thrives on insecurity.


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