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Taib: Bible serial numbers a ‘stupid idea’

Taib: Bible serial numbers a ‘stupid idea’

Regina Lee
Apr 9, 11

Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has credited himself for solving the Bible impasse that has gripped the Malay-speaking Christian community.

Speaking to about 1,000 (3,600 as verified by SU respondent attending the function) Melanau Christians in Mukah, he said that in contrast, the opposition didn’t lifted a finger to rectify the problem.

“It was I who talked to the prime minister. I said to him that it was a stupid idea to stamp serial numbers.

“I told him it should be stopped and he said ‘yes I agree and I’ll put a stop to it’. So he went and stopped the serial numbers.

“Now there’s no more of this nonsense,” he said.

Taib denied that the stamping was the result of a federal government ruling and instead blamed it on ‘misinterpretation’ by minor state officials.

“It was my lower officers who interpreted it the wrong way. When (Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak) realised it, he also thought that it was a funny way to interpret (the ruling),” he later told reporters.

He later stressed that Malay-languaged bibles and religious tolerance have been a “Sarawak tradition”.

“This is a Sarawak tradition. We’ve had this for a long time. So why do something new to make people unhappy?” he asked.

The controversy started when two batches of Malay-languaged bibles were impounded by the home ministry – 5,100 in Port Klang and 30,000 in Kuching.

The government had earlier said the bibles named ‘Al-Kitab’ could not enter the country as they contained several terms ‘exclusive’ only to Muslims.

‘Let tolerance be bedrock of Sarawak’

Slamming Pakatan Rakyat’s capitalisation of the issue, Taib lambasted the opposition for trying to ‘politicise religion’.

“We Melanau have always been tolerant. I have cousins who are Christians and there is no quarrel or cause of dispute. That is the tradition here and we have to keep it.

“But we don’t know about the future. When people raise religious issues in politics, it becomes dangerous. There is nothing more volatile when you mix religion and politics.

“Religion is volatile enough and when you mix it with politics, it becomes doubly provocative and divisive,” he warned in his speech before officiating the St Peter & Paul Church in his constituency of Balingian this afternoon.

In dismissing Pakatan’s battlecry for change, Taib said that change could be for the worse and may open doors for “extremists to rule our state and country”.

“That’s why I don’t know what is in store for the future so please, we cannot allow racial and religious issues to come into our politics.

“Let tolerance be the bedrock of Sarawak,” he said to thunderous applause by the crowd.


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