16 April 2012
The Christian Federation of Malaysia welcomes the Honourable Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib bin Tun Razak’s tabling of the Security Offences (Special Measures) Bill 2012 for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, 16 April 2012.
Once the Bill comes into operation, at a date yet to be fixed, the Internal Security Act 1960 will be repealed.
We acknowledge the Prime Minister’s attempt to remain true to the announcement he made on 15 September 2011 that he would abolish the Internal Security Act 1960.
Nonetheless, the CFM is concerned that as part of Clause 32 of the Bill dealing with the saving provisions, “The repeal of the Internal Security Act 1960 shall not affect – (a) any order issued or made under the repealed Act prior to the date of coming into operation of this Act, unless earlier revoked by the Minister.”
There are 3 orders issued under the Internal Security Act 1960 which are particularly offensive to the Christian community. These are:-
Internal Security (Prohibition of Publications) (No. 4) Order 1982
This is a prohibition order on the Alkitab published by the Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia and printed in Korea. This order deems the Alkitab (The Bible in the Malay language) to be prejudicial to the national interest and security of the Federation and prohibits the printing, publication, sale, issue, circulation or possession of the publication with the condition that the prohibition “shall not apply to the possession or use in churches of such publication by persons professing the Christian religion, throughout Malaysia”. The order was signed on 22nd March 1982.
Internal Security (Prohibition of Publications) (No.2) Order 1983
The publication “Kalam Hidup” published by the Kalam Hidup (Kemah Injil Gereja Masehi Indonesia) was prohibited throughout Malaysia and was stated as “prejudicial to the national interest of the Federation”. The order was signed on 4th May 1983.
Internal Security (Prohibition of Publications) (No.3) Order 1983
The “Perjanjian Baru” published and printed by the Lembaga Alkitab Indonesia was prohibited because it was “prejudicial to the national interest of the Federation” but was allowed “subject to the possession or use in churches of such publication by persons professing the Christian religion, throughout Malaysia.” The order was signed on 4th May 1983.
Pursuant to Clause 32 of the Bill, such orders will remain in force notwithstanding the repeal of the Internal Security Act 1960. This is wholly unacceptable.
We call on the Prime Minister, in the spirit of the Global Movement of Moderates which he himself has launched and championed, to take immediate steps to revoke these orders.
As long as they remain part of the corpus of legislation in Malaysia, they represent an odious and obnoxious derogation from the freedom of religion in Malaysia.
Article 149 of the Federal Constitution, under which provisions the Internal Security Act 1960 was passed, clearly prohibits any inconsistency with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.
As such, these orders violate the Federal Constitution and should NEVER have been made in the first place.
These orders represent an unwarranted and illegitimate restriction of the right to profess, practice and propagate one’s religion.
It adds insult to injury if they are allowed to remain on our statute books.
We urge the Malaysian Government to take this golden opportunity to remove once and for all this stubborn stain on the rule of law in Malaysia.
Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing
Chairman and the Executive Committee,
The Christian Federation of Malaysia.