Current Affairs

AG must explain delay in bible raid case

by Gobind Singh Deo

On January 2, 2104, the Selangor State Islamic Religious Department (JAIS) conducted a raid on a premises used by the Bible Society of Malaysia following which they seized bibles allegedly for purposes of investigation.

It is trite that the discretion as to whether or not to commence a criminal prosecution after investigation lies in the Attorney General and this is evident from the provisions of Article 145 of the Federal Constitution. It is therefore for the Attorney General as Public Prosecutor to consider whether or not there are sufficient grounds for a prosecution in the matter.

Needless to say, this incident has caused great concern among Malaysians across the board. There has been great public debate as to whether or not the seized bibles ought to have been seized in the first place and or whether or not they ought to remain seized. The Attorney General is surely aware of the sensitivity of the situation. He surely understands the need for a case like this to be dealt with expeditiously and without delay. It would not be out of place given the straight forward circumstances in this case, to say that investigations ought to have been completed long ago.

As Member of Parliament, I call upon the Attorney General to explain why there is a delay in this case. Why has the Attorney-General kept silent despite the open criticisms and calls for the return of the bibles seized?

He should recognize the concern expressed by not only the Bible Society of Malaysia but also the greater public over the matter. There is no reason why he should remain silent in these circumstances.

There have also been calls for the Menteri Besar of Selangor, Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim, to facilitate the return of the seized bibles to the Bible Society of Malaysia. The Menteri Besar has to my mind rightly responded to say that this is a matter within the purview of the Attorney General as it involves a pending investigation.

Nevertheless, it is my view that given the nature of the problem and the concerns raised, the Menteri Besar ought to take it upon himself to seek an audience with the Attorney General with a view towards pressing him for answers in relation to this investigation. The Menteri Besar will inspire confidence if he took a proactive approach in the matter rather than appearing to want to push it upon the Attorney General alone for resolution.

The Menteri Besar cannot and should not run away from the fact that the issue concerns the state as well as it is JAIS which conducted the raid.

I therefore also call upon the Menteri Besar of Selangor to take immediate steps so as to communicate directly with the Attorney General so as to find a solution to the problem as soon as possible.

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