April 16, 2005

Indigenous-language Bibles banned in Malaysia?

Apparently, a government minister in Malaysia recently made remarks in Parliament to the effect that all Bibles in the Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Indonesia languages are banned. This, understandably, has caused some consternation with the country's evangelical Christian community. Rev. Wong Kim Kong, secretary-general of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship, issued a statement which said, in part:

The remarks [of minister Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz] are also inconsistent with the Prime Minister's policy of promoting religious harmony in our nation.

Besides, such a policy is unfair to all non-English speaking Christian Bumiputras in East Malaysia who use these Bible translations.

[Full Story]

Another government minister has also requested clarification of these remarks.

It's hard to believe, sometimes, that this kind of retrograde thinking is still current in some parts of the world, particularly in a constitutional monarchy patterned after the British system. It seems doubly strange that Bibles in Malaysia's official language would be so proscribed. But, then, Great Britain itself has in the past banned translations of the Bible in the vernacular as well. Also, Malaysia is predominantly Muslim; in fact, the dominant Malays are constitutionally defined as such.

(H/T: SmartChristian Blog.)