The Registrar of Societies (RoS) postpones indefinitely its inspection of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM)

The Bible and the Cross unite.

Christianity worldwide is not exactly one uniform body and in Malaysia, there are, indeed, diverse and divergent groups.

However, when you ‘raid’ the Bible Society of Malaysia, you bring us Christians together. Apart from the cross, the Bible unites Christians. The Bible Society of Malaysia brings to us our Bible, whatever the version.

1 July 2o15

Jul 1, 2015

By Stephen Ng

Would another raid turn Christians against BN?

COMMENT Not even two years have passed by and now the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) is again facing the possibility of another raid.

This time, it is by a federal agency using Section 63 of the Societies Act 1966, which, under normal circumstances, the Registrar of Societies (ROS) would not use.

A member of the Bible Society who spoke on condition of anonymity said that for the past 23 years, the society has always been up-to-date with its submission to the ROS.

“If there are any documents that the registrar would like the society to furnish, the staff would be more than happy to comply,” she said, dismissing that there could be any proselytisation work done by the society.

The Bible Society is there mainly to supply Bibles in different languages to the Christian community, and if the Alkitab is the main issue now why the ROS is using Section 63, then is Bahasa Malaysia after all the national language?

Although the visit yesterday was postponed indefinitely, the idea of placing churches and other religious organisations directly under the supervision of the ROS runs contrary to the spirit of the federal constitution.

Placing the churches and other religious organisations under the ROS could lead to abuses now and in the future, especially when they are officers who do not share the same faith, giving the perception that there is religious persecution in the country.

I am sure that yesterday’s episode was being watched closely by international groups as well as the church at large, both domestic and abroad.

This raises the question why cabinet minister Joseph Kurup is so eager in explaining, instead of shooting down the Home Ministry’s latest standard operating procedure (SOP) which allows the Quranic Text Division of the Home Ministry to supervise the import of the Alkitab into peninsular Malaysia.

Kurup is supposed to be a native Christian from Sabah, but once implemented, he risks losing the respect of the Christian community in both east and peninsular Malaysia for failing to make a stand.

The entire Barisan Nasional will suffer the backlash as well since they are connected with both Najib, Zahid and Kurup.

Last January, the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) carried out a surprise raid of BSM’s Selangor office and seized over 300 copies of the bible in Malay and Iban, using a 1988 Selangor state law that prohibits non-Muslims from using “Allah” to refer to God.

The bibles were returned to the Christian community last November, albeit stamped in red with a warning that they were not to be published or used anywhere in Selangor.

– See more at:

Malay Mail Online

We’ve not broken any rules, Bible Society insists after RoS visit postponed


PETALING JAYA, June 30 ― Following the Registrar of Societies (RoS)’s abrupt postponement of its visit today, the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) maintained that it has not breached any rules or regulations that would have led to such an inspection.

The Selangor RoS had called BSM Honorary Secretary Reverend Mathew K. Punnoose this morning to postpone the visit to an undisclosed date but did not give any reason for doing so.

“BSM knows that it is not carrying on any activities in contravention of the Societies Act or any regulation made thereunder or any of its rules as the object of the Society has always been to provide and make available Bibles in various languages,” Mathew said in a brief statement on behalf of the BSM executive committee today.

– See more at:


Tuesday June 30, 2015 MYT 2:55:01 PM

RoS cancels planned Bible Society inspection

PETALING JAYA: The Registrar of Societies (RoS) has decided not to go ahead with its planned routine inspection of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM).

BSM honorary secretary Rev Mathew K. Punnoose told reporters at the society’s headquarters that Selangor RoS had called Tuesday morning to inform that the check had been postponed indefinitely.

On Jan 2 last year, the Selangor Religious Islamic Department (JAIS) raided BSM premises and seized 321 copies of the Alkitab, 10 copies of the Iban Bilble – Bup Kudus – and 20 copies of Luke’s Gospel in Malay.

The seizure, according to JAIS was based on a 1988 Selangor state law prohibiting non-Muslims from using “Allah” to refer to God, and that the bibles seized violated that ruling.

The bibles were returned to BSM in November last year.

Malay Mail Online

A ‘routine check’ after 31 years? What’s the real reason, Bible Society asks RoS


PETALING JAYA, June 29 — The Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) questioned today the Registrar of Societies’ (RoS) assertion in wanting to perform a “routine check” of its premises here, saying there has been no such previous visit since its establishment in 1984.

According to BSM, RoS was scheduled to visit today, but had called it off at the last minute without giving any reason.

“BSM welcomes the proposed visit of the RoS in the spirit of transparency and accountability but we would like to know the reasons for such a ‘routine check’ under Section 63 which does not provide for it.

“We have therefore requested the RoS Selangor give us the reason for such a visit,” BSM honourary secretary Reverend Mathew K. Punnoose said in a statement on behalf of its executive committee.

Selangor RoS abruptly called Mathew this morning to postpone the visit until an undisclosed date.

Eugene Yapp, a BSM board member, confirmed to reporters here that no reason was given for the regulator’s abrupt cancellation.

– See more at:

Clause 64 further states that if the registrar has reason to believe that any registered society is being used for purposes prejudicial to public peace, welfare, good order or morality in Malaysia, the ROS may enter, with or without assistance and using force for that purpose, if necessary, into any place so suspected.

Further, the ROS may also seize and detain any books, accounts, writings, lists of members, banners, seals, insignia, arms or other articles belonging to the registered society which ROS has reason to believe may be required in respect of further proceedings.

The registrar of ROS and his deputies are appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and have immense powers. No one can take them to court.

Malay Mail Online

Denying any ‘sinister’ motives, RoS says visit to Bible Society just a ‘routine check’


KOTA KINABALU, June 29 ― The Registrar of Societies (RoS) today denied that it has hidden motives in its planned inspection of the Bible Society of Malaysia’s (BSM) premises tomorrow, as the Christian group braces for possible reprisal over a recent court decision that went against the federal government.

An RoS official said the two-hour visit to BSM’s office starting at 1pm tomorrow is a normal procedure that is provided for under the Societies Act 1966. “Every month we run such inspections to about 10 or 15 societies registered under us. There is nothing suspicious here. We have the right to enter premises under the law, provided we give notice,” the official told Malay Mail Online on condition of anonymity.

– See more at:

Malaysiakini Jun 29, 2015

By Bob Teoh

Putrajaya breathing down Bible Society’s neck


Coming so soon after Prime Minister Najib Razak assured Christians of moderation, the Registry of Society (ROS) is now threatening to crack down on the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM), merely on suspicions of acts “prejudicial to public peace, welfare, good order or morality in Malaysia”.

According to those familiar with the matter, ROS in an email notice told BSM that a ROS team would be at its office, between 1pm and 3pm tomorrow, but it did not state just what the BSM has done  to bring about the call at its office.

BSM was only told to get its membership roll, minutes of meetings and accounts ready for inspection by ROS. The BSM executive council is alarmed that ROS would resort to such high-handedness and is seeking legal advice.

Its president, former Christian Federation of Malaysia chairperson and Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia, Rev Ng Moon Hing, is out of town and could not be contacted for comments.

For good measure, the ROS is also roping some other societies for similar inspections, citing clause 63 of the Societies Act 1966 as grounds for its action. This clause states that the registrar, if he has reason to believe that any society is carrying out activities in contravention of the law, may enter into any registered society and may search such places and inspect all books, accounts, minutes of meetings and other documents kept by the society.

The latest move by the ROS against the Bible Society of Malaysia comes after the Home Ministry announced its intention to put in place new curbs on the Alkitab, the Malay language Bible, recently.  BOB TEOH, a former secretary-general of the Confederation of Asean Journalists, is a contributor to Malaysiakini.

This entry was posted in Bible Society of Malaysia, malaysia, Registrar of Societies, religion and politics in malaysia, RoS visitsBSM and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Registrar of Societies (RoS) postpones indefinitely its inspection of the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM)

  1. Pingback: The Registrar of Societies (RoS) ‘visits’ (inspects?) the Evangelical Free Church of Malaysia (EFCM) on Tuesday, 14 July. | weehingthong

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