Bible and other religious books banned in Malaysia
The Malaysian Home Ministry (KDN) has banned 35 books, several of them by Christian authors, and one of them a translation of the Bible.
Considered detrimental to public peace twelve of these are popularly viewed as Christian books, eleven of them in the national language, Bahasa Malaysia.
The twelfth is a translation of the Bible in Iban, the language of the Iban people of Sarawak, which has been freely available in the country for over five years.
The statement issued by the KDN stated that the ìprinting, import, production, reproduction, sale, circulation, distribution and possession of books listed under the schedule are banned in the countryî.
The Iban Christians of Sarawak could now face a three year jail sentance or a maximum fine of 20,000 Malaysian ringgits (approx. £3,340) simply for possessing an Iban Bible.
Those books banned include translated works by John R W Stott which are not banned in their original English form.
A press statement issued by the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP) stated that the ban ìinfringes on the rights of Ibans to practise their religionî and it calls on the government ìto immediately lift the banî.
Ibans comprise 30% of the population of Sarawak (the largest ethnic group in the state) and the majority of Ibans are Christian.
The Federal Constitution of Malaysia guarantees the right to practise oneís own religion.