Bishop denounces “divide and rule” policy

Terence Netto
Apr 3, 11

Catholic Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing has denounced as “insidious” and “evil” the imposition of two sets of rules – one for Sabah and Sarawak and the other for Peninsular Malaysia – with regard to the dissemination of the Malay Bible, Al-Kitab.

Minister in the Prime Minister Department, Idris Jala, had announced yesterday a formula for the resolution of the controversy over the impoundment since January of thousands of copies of the Al-Kitab in ports at Kuching and Port Klang.

The formula allows for the dissemination in Sabah and Sarawak without conditions of the Al-Kitab, but for Peninsula Malaysia, copies of the Al-Kitab have to be stamped with the cross and have the words ‘Christian Publication’ on them.

Speaking to Malaysiakini in his capacity as the titular head of the Melaka-Johor diocese, Bishop Paul Tan, who is also president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia, said:

“If the policy is one for Sabah and Sarawak and another for Peninsula Malaysia, this is tantamount to using the insidious tactic of ‘divide and rule.’ I adamantly condemn and reject such means.”

The Christian Federation of Malaysia, the umbrella body for 90 percent of the denominational congregations in Malaysia, is to meet soon to discuss the government’s latest offer for the resolution of the controversy.

Some Christian groups appear to be leaning in favor of the government’s latest offer while others are loath to accept the differentiation of the rules between the Borneo states and the peninsula.

“There should be one policy for the whole Christian population in the two parts of the country,” said Bishop Paul Tan.

“You can put ‘Christian Publication’ on each copy since this is what was agreed to in 2005 by the CFM with the Abdullah Badawi administration.

“But there should be no differentiation between the rules for Sabah and Sarawak and the rules for Peninsular Malaysia,” insisted Bishop Paul Tan.

Bishop Paul Tan, a past president of the CFM, noted that the latest announcement by Idris Jala made no mention of the term ‘Allah’, the legitimacy of which use is being contested in the courts.

He said any decision by Christian groups on the government’s latest offer must take due note of this uncertainty.

“It is better to stick by a practice already agreed to in 2005 than opt for changes that carry the prospect of being rendered moot by a pending decision of the courts,” he said.

‘Above all, there must be no differentiation between the rule for Sabah and Sarawak and the one for the peninsula,” he emphasized.

  1. #1 by donng55 on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 9:52 pm

    PM, hear me! PM, hear my petition! Let’s extol the virtue of returning to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God…

  2. #2 by monsterball on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 9:53 pm

    Bishop Paul Tan can read the devil’s minds well.
    Yes…concerning Christains….they are two kinds of rules for East and West Malaysians.
    It is divide to rule out dated dictatorial rule with jungle laws.

  3. #3 by baochingtian on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 10:05 pm

    What’s the rational of having to different rules Mr Idris?
    R u guys now People of Sarawak first and People of Peninsular Msia 2nd?

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 10:18 pm

    If life is so difficult under BN, just vote them out of office.

  5. #5 by cemerlang on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 10:29 pm

    Iklas or sincerity is subjective and how can you prove subjectivity ? BN whether you like it or not is still the powerhouse. Somebody strong has to remind these people continuously about what is guaranteed in the constitution and somebody strong has to safeguard it.

  6. #6 by Cinapek on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 10:57 pm

    Bishop Dr Paul Tan Chee Ing said:
    “…Above all, there must be no differentiation between the rule for Sabah and Sarawak and the one for the peninsula,” he emphasized.”

    Absolutely. By having two rules the Govt has just made a mockery of the 1Malaysia slogan. Even a simple matter of religious practice, the Govt has betrayed its insincere intentions by having double standards. By this decision it has shown it is prepared to compromise its 1Malaysia policy at the drop of a hat for political expediency. If they can do this for a simple matter of importing Bibles, what is there to stop them with double standards with bigger issues?

  7. #7 by habis on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 11:01 pm

    Just to confirm my suspicion that the BN govt’s sincerity is questionable with 2 diffferent set of laws and dividing our people into East and West Malaysians.Aren’t we Malaysians irrespective of colour,race or religion?Why differentiate between Christians from East and West Malaysians?What is guaranteed in the Malaysian Constitution which must be respected and honoured by all parties the freedom to practise one’s religion without any hindrances by anyone.There shouldn’t be any fear of undue influence by other religion if we are steadfast in our faith for although I was educated in a mssionary school ,attended Sunday classes in the fifties but today I am still a Buddhist for I fevently believe all religions teach us to be righteous, virtuous and commit no sins.

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 3 April 2011 - 11:55 pm

    China has 1 Country, 2 Systems.

    1Malaysia has 1 Country, 2 rules.

    It is interesting that no Muslim leader in BN has been given the task of handling and speaking on behalf of the government. They have to pick Idris Jala to make all these announcements.

    I think Idris Jala should just stop acting and speaking for the Christians. Let the Christian leaders speak for their flock.

    None of the Christian Ministers and leaders in the government are credible. They have been very quiet all these 30 years or so and done nothing.

    “Christian Publication”. Why the need for this? There shouldn’t be any requirement or condition at all and the Christians should not compromise on this.

    Next there might be “Buddhist Publication”, “Hindu Publication”, “Sikh Publication” etc etc. Where does it end?

  9. #9 by monsterball on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 12:31 am

    yhsiew…Life is not that so difficult our country is so rich..that no matter how much they steal…there is always money somewhere pumping in.
    It is voting them out for several reasons…and much more.
    1.To get rid of multi billion corruptions..therefore getting rid of robbers and thieves.
    2. To get rid of double standards and jungle laws.
    3. To support an alternative after 55 years under one party.
    If we do not do that…then life will be more and more difficult when our natural resorces income dry up.
    These rouges need billions to buy up the country… end to it…as corruptions introduced by mamak have reached a end to it…and nothing is enough…always want more and more….like a drug addict.
    It is an incurable disease.
    Only way…change Givt…get all arrested save all Malysians.

  10. #10 by boh-liao on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 2:24 am

    Divide n rule, I master U slave bondage mentality – UmnoB/BN damn good at them
    How can nonMalays n nonMuslims within BN component parties support UmnoB as super arrogant evil tai ko dat suppresses their religions, rights n culture?

  11. #11 by Bigjoe on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 8:36 am

    I have to say the Bishop shows a lot of steel using the the term ‘divide and rule’ that we all know is UMNO/BN unstated policy. Until now, its always been the opposition leaders charging it and denied by BN. This is the first time its by a non-political group saying it. Its spitting in the face that UMNO/BN denial of over-politicisation of many areas of our lives such as religion, education, personal behaviour..

    If the Indians and Sabah & Sarawak natives pick it up and run with it, its a new political beachhead for opposition politics.

  12. #12 by Bigjoe on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 8:38 am

    Add language, law enforcement to the areas stated above.

  13. #13 by boh-liao on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 9:16 am

    Yes, spread d WORDS (soft n hard copies) 2 all rakyat 4 they r mightier than d sword

  14. #14 by k1980 on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 10:40 am

    What divide and rule? No such thing— go and ask my minister of christianity beside me…. see how he is smiling man

  15. #15 by Winston on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 2:59 pm

    Bishop, you’ve just put your finger on the problem.
    So, next, you must do what is necessary to banish satan to the fire of eternal hell!
    Tell your flock, in no uncertain terms, to cast out the evil party and give the alternative party a chance to take over the reigns of government. This is no time to be faint hearted!!!
    You do want good governance, not only for your congregation, but also for all Malaysians.
    Don’t you?
    In you we trust!

  16. #16 by monsterball on Monday, 4 April 2011 - 5:04 pm

    Fool around with religions..flip flopping…hell is waiting for Tiab Mahmud and Najib in Sarawak.

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