The Anglican Bishop of Kuching’s response to the federal government’s decision on the Malay-language bibles and its 10-point concession appears to contradict the Catholic Bishop of Malacca-Johor, who is the Chairman of the Malaysian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The Right Reverend Bolly Lapok’s statement welcoming the government’s move was reported in the Borneo Post.
In contrast, the youth wing of the Council of Churches Malaysia (CCM) reportedly rejected the 10-point proposal. (The Anglican diocese of Kuching, headed by Lapok, is a member of the CCM.) CCM Youth Secretary Daniel Chai was reported as saying, “”We don’t agree with the suggestions because they represent no firm commitment from the government. We shall continue to observe and see how things develop.”
Malacca-Johor Catholic Bishop Paul Tan had described the two sets of rules as “evil”. “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.” There should be one policy for the whole Christian population in the country, he asserted.
Does Lapok think Malaysia should have two sets of rules and guidelines – one for the peninsula and the other for east Malaysia – on the use of the Al-kitab? Is it all right for Christians in the peninsula to face restrictions and conditions? Was the government’s decision made out of political expediency as the BN realises that over 40 per cent of Sarawakians are Christians and their votes will be crucial in the state elections?
Is the Kuching Anglican Bishop
Bapok Lapok, who is a Datuk, only concerned about what happens in Sarawak without looking at the implications of the ruling for the whole pensinula?