According to the society, the ministry had stamped spaces for the serial numbers into the Bibles and the words "Al Kitab Berita Baik ini untuk kegunaan penganut agama Kristian sahaja" ('This "Al Kitab Berita Baik" is only for use by Christians only.")
'We should have been consulted'
In the 2005 letter, the society added, the ministry had agreed to allow the import of Malay-language Bibles provided that the sign of the cross and the words 'Penerbitan Kristian' (Christian publication) be embossed onto the covers by the Christians themselves. "As the Bible is the holy book of the Christians, due respect should be given to it by consulting the relevant Christian representative organs before any external text is inserted into the Bibles," said the society. It added that it was "alarmed" by the notification and is now urging the ministry to stop stamping the Bibles with such wordings. An urgent letter was also faxed to the Home Ministry secretary-general Mahmood Adam urging for a negotiation of the terms of the Bibles' release that will not "mencerobohi maruah (violate the dignity) of the holy books". Putrajaya had decided to release the Bibles from impoundment yesterday, claiming that it is upholding an 1982 Internal Security Act gazette allowing the import of Malay-language Bibles.
It also claimed that the decision was made upon advice by the attorney-general, who said the Bibles would not impact the government's appeal against the ruling on the use of the word 'Allah' by Catholic publication The Herald.