The rejection of the Attorney-General’s decision by MAIS and JAIS and their refusal to return Bibles seized from BSM has precipitated a crisis in Selangor state (see link).
Firstly, there is now a crisis of confidence in the State government. A state department has declared its autonomy of the Menteri Besar and the State EXCO. They answer to no one. They have taken upon themselves to be infallible interpreters of the law to the extent that they reject the decision of the AG. In doing so, they have undermined the AG’s constitutional role as the final arbiter of all criminal investigations and prosecutions.
Secondly, MAIS and JAIS by their recent announcements have stated that they regard the Malay and Iban Bible to be in breach of Selangor law in spite of what the AG has said. The practical implication of this is that JAIS with the approval of MAIS will carry out further raids on BSM as they regard BSM as lawbreakers in spite of what the AG has said. Further, they will also raid churches that have and use the Malay or Iban bibles, arrest Christian pastors and priests and seize more bibles in spite of what the AG has said. It matters not that the AG will refuse to prosecute. MAIS and JAIS will continue to act on their own and in defiance of the law as interpreted by the AG until their exhibit rooms are filled with seized bibles. Christians and churches will live in fear of JAIS.
The MAIS and JAIS stand is unprecedented and a dangerous anomaly in modern government. There is no such thing as a government department that is not accountable and not subject to law as interpreted by those constitutionally appointed to interpret it.
Also, MAIS and JAIS’s recalcitrance have shown that they have become unqualified and unfit to enforce the Selangor Non-Islamic Religions (Control of Propagation Among Muslims) Enactment 1988.
What can the State EXCO do? Clearly, they must protect the people of Selangor from an uncontrollable department. They can easily do this by revoking the Gazette Notification published in 1999 that appointed MAIS and JAIS officials as enforcement officers under the 1988 Selangor Enactment.
This incident have demonstrated the folly of appointing officers of one religion to police adherents of other religions. It is very clear that the job of enforcement should be given to secular authorities like the police to prevent religious bias from perverting the course of justice.
Enforcement officers under the 1988 Selangor Enactment are appointed by the Ruler in council. This means that the Sultan of the State appoints the enforcement officers on the advice of the State EXCO. Thus, the revocation of such appointments are also on the same basis.