Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Herald 2010 permit cancelled

The future has just grown murkier for the country’s only Catholic newspaper, which is locked in a lawsuit against the Home Minister over the right to publish the word “Allah” to mean God for Christians.

The Malaysian Insider was told that The Herald’s publishing permit for next year was retracted recently.

Father Lawrence Andrew is the editor of The Herald. – Picture by Jack Ooi

The weekly’s priest-editor, Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew, explained that the Catholic Church which publishes the multi-lingual weekly, had first applied for the annual licence in late July.

The Home Ministry had replied on Aug 5 and approved their application to publish in four languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil, but rejected their request to add a new language, Kadazandusun.

The church received a second letter from the Home Ministry on Sept 3, which promptly retracted the approval given a month earlier even though the RM800 publishing fee had been paid up.

No reason was given for the rejection, Andrew said.

Instead, the Home Ministry ordered the church to disclose its bank accounts and send in the latest statement, which Andrew found odd.

“They are a licensing body for permits, not a commercial body,” he said.

The priest also said they were forced to put in a letter asking for a refund on the RM800 payment, which he also found strange.

He noted that the ministry should have returned the money automatically, and added that he would not follow the directive as it may indicate that the church agreed with the rejection.

Andrew said the church has enlisted the aide of Datuk Michael Chong, a special officer to the Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and a church-going Catholic, to clear the confusing chain of events.

Chong responded promptly and told him the deputy home minister had “overturned” the decision to reject the church’s permit.

But there has been no breakthrough since then. Their last communication was yesterday, through an SMS exchange.

“We’re in limbo right now,” Andrew said.

[Source : The MalaysianInsider]

Geronimo's Take: There goes Najib's 1Malaysia. This is so vindictive to say the least.

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