Lily’s Room

November-14-2009 This is Malaysia!

1. The Star Online (http://thestar.com.my)

(1) Gan: Not wise to reverse approval of The Herald’s permit, 13 November 2009

PETALING JAYA: MCA Political Education Bureau chief Gan Ping Sieu has urged the Home Ministry to reconsider the retraction of The Herald’sprinting permit.

Gan said the Home Ministry’s move to reverse its August approval of The Herald’s printing permit could be misconstrued as punishment for the publication’s suit against the Government on the usage restriction of the word “Allah”.

“The action by the authorities veers on stilting religious freedom of our country, and this is unconstitutional and totally unacceptable,” Gan said in a statement yesterday.

On the matter of a section printed in the Kadazandusun language, Gan said that there should be no barriers against printing the newsletter in the language in line with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which states that Malaysians have the right of freedom of worship.

“There should be no denying the rights of non-Muslims to read and practise matters regarding their faith in their own native language.

“There is no valid ground to deny the Kadazandusun language section in The Herald as this is tantamount to denying Sabahans the right of religious communication between the church and her followers or to further deepen their spirituality in their native language,” Gan added.

© 1995-2009 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

(2) Hisham: Catholic newsletter still has permit to print, 13 November 2009

by DHARMENDER SINGH

PUTRAJAYA: The Catholic weekly newsletter, The Herald, still has its printing permit, it has not been retracted.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said The Herald still had its permit to print the weekly newsletter in Bahasa Malaysia, the English Language, Chinese and Tamil and it was only the application to also print in the Kadazan language that was never approved.

He said the whole issue over the newsletter’s permit seemed like a case of miscommunication, whether deliberate or not, that made it look as if the ministry was not allowing it to print its newsletter any language.

“Even in the application to print in the Kadazan language, the reason approval was not given was because the editor wrote to me saying they did not want to proceed with the intention under the current circumstances,” he told a press conference after chairing his ministry’s weekly post cabinet meeting here Friday.

The Herald editor Father Andrew Lawrence, was reported on Thursday as saying that the weekly newsletter, which had its 2010 publishing permit approved in August, received a second letter in September stating it was not approved and its publishers should make an application for the refund of RM800 paid for the weekly’s permit.

MCA Political Education Bureau chief Gan Ping Sieu had called on the ministry to reconsider the retraction of The Herald’s printing permit as it could be misconstrued as punishment for the publication’s suit against the Government on the usage restriction of the word ‘’Allah’’.

He also said that there should be no barriers against printing the newsletter in the Kadazan language in line with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which states that Malaysians have the right of freedom of worship.

Hishammuddin said he had ordered his officers not to answer to the allegations through the media but to meet with those involved in publishing the newsletter and to find an amicable solution to the problem and a meeting had been held at 4.30pm Friday.

“I told my officers that in any case where people manipulate or use sensitive issues that affect the nation and the people, it is better to discuss the matter face-to-face with those involved and if it still cannot be resolve then I will meet them myself.

“I believe that it is much better to settle matters through discussions rather than answering back and forth through the media to the point that it becomes confrontational,” he said.

Meanwhile, Herald Editor Fr Lawrence Andrew said they had received the approval to print till 2010.

He said this was communicated to him at meeting that was arranged by Datuk Lau Yeng Peng and the Home Ministry officials.

They will no longer go by the Sept letter which stated that their 2010 printing permit application was not approved, but by the Aug letter.

“I was told that the Aug letter that gave us the approval was the right letter and to ignore the Sept letter.

“The meeting was amicable and cordial,” he said.

© 1995-2009 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

(3) Hisham: Only The Herald’s application to print in Kadazan not approved, 14 November 2009

by DHARMENDER SINGH and LOURDES CHARLES

PUTRAJAYA: The Home Ministry has denied retracting the printing permit for the Catholic weekly newsletter The Herald.

Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said The Herald still had its permit to print its weekly newsletter in Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese and Tamil.

“It is only their application to print the newsletter in the Kadazan language that was never approved.

“Even in the application to print in the Kadazan language, the reason was not given because the editor wrote to tell me that they did not want to proceed with the intention under current circumstances,” he told reporters after chairing his ministry’s post-Cabinet meeting here yesterday.

Hishammuddin said the matter over the permit seemed to be a case of miscommunication, whether this be deliberate or not, giving rise to the perception that the ministry was not allowing its printing in any language.

The Herald editor Father Andrew Lawrence was reported on Thursday as saying that the newletter, which had its 2010 publishing permit approved in August, had received a second letter a month later, stating that this had not been allowed.

He had said the letter had asked the publishers to apply for the refund of the RM800 paid for the weekly’s permit.

Hishammuddin said he had ordered his officers not to refute allegations through the media but to meet with those involved in publishing the newsletter for an amicable solution, after which a meeting was held at 4.30pm yesterday.

“I told my officers that in any case, in which people manipulate sensitive issues affecting the nation and the people, it is better to discuss face-to-face with those involved. If this still cannot be resolved, then I will meet them myself,” he said,

When contacted, Father Andrew confirmed that the newsletter had received approval to print in 2010.

He said this was told to him in a meeting arranged by Hishammud- din’s special officer Datuk Lau Yeng Peng and the ministry’s officials.

“I was told that the August letter that gave us the approval was the right one and for us to ignore the September letter.

“The meeting was amicable and cordial,” he said.

© 1995-2009 Star Publications (Malaysia) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)

2. Bernama.com (http://www.bernama.com.)

Herald's Permit Not Revoked - Hishammuddin, 13 November 2009

PUTRAJAYA, The Home Ministry has not revoked the publication permit of The Herald Catholic Weekly as claimed by certain parties, its minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said.

He said that the claim was baseless as the weekly's publication was still allowed in four languages namely Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

"The only issue here is whether they would be allowed to print The Herald in Kadazandusun," he told a news conference after chairing a post cabinet meeting here on Friday.

Hishammuddin said that the weekly's editor had sent a letter to the ministry informing the deferment in the publication of the Kadazandusun version.

He said that the ministry's officers had met The Herald today to discuss the issue.

"I have advised ministry's officers that in any sensitive issues, it is better to discuss them face to face rather than answering them publicly and through the media," he said.

(BERNAMA)

3. Malaysiakini.com (http://www.malaysiakini.com)

(1) Home Ministry: We are renewing Herald's permit, 13 November 2009

by Christine Chan

The Home Ministry clarified that The Herald's permit for publication has not been revoked and that the renewal of its permit for 2010 is in process.

"There was never an issue of revoking the permit for The Herald," explained an official from the publication control and Al-Quran text division.

He told Malaysiakini that the last letter sent to The Herald in September was a notification that the application to publish in the Kadazan-Dusun language was not approved, and that a refund of the permit fee could be made.

The reason being, he said, is that The Herald paid its permit fees too early.

"We will only process the permit three months before the old permit expires, as in this case it is in January 2010. The ministry will give the option for a refund if monies were paid prior to the three months.

The official said that it was a norm for the ministry to send applicants a letter to remind them of an option to claim refunds for fees paid too early. This is so they could pay the ministry closer to the expiry date.

He said that the confusion arose from a misunderstanding, stressing that the Home Ministry did not have issues with The Herald.

He also added that the 'Allah' ban is a pending court case and should not be tied to the issue of the permit.

Herald insists permit application was rejected

Meanwhile, the letter that was sent from the Home Ministry on Sept 3 was titled Refund for the publication titled‘Herald-The Catholic Weekly'.

It further reads: "This is to inform you that the application for the change of language is not approved. Therefore, the Ministry will refund the money that was paid."

And the letter further goes on to explain the procedure to obtain the refund.

Editor of The Herald, Father Lawrence, however, declined to comment on the explanations given by the Home Ministry, as there will be a meeting between the parties later today.

"I do not want to comment on this. All I am saying is, I have the letter and let the facts speaks for themselves," said Father Lawrence.

Earlier this week, there were reports that the Home Ministry has cancelled the approval of the renewal of the permit to The Herald.

Father Lawrence was mystified as to why the approval was cancelled as no reasons were given.

The Herald newspaper, circulated among the country's 850,000 Catholics in four languages, nearly lost its publishing licence last year for using the disputed word.

The Roman Catholic Church is still waging a legal battle, which started two years ago, with authorities over the use of the word 'Allah'.

(2) Herald permit revoke 'repulsive, unreasonable', 13 November 2009

by Gan Ping Sieu

We refer to the Malaysiakini report The Herald loses permit amid 'Allah' row.

The home ministry must allow 'The Herald''s permit renewal. Repulsive and unreasonable permit retractions will be perceived as stifling religious freedom. The 2010 permit for the The Herald has not been approved although the said ministry had initially approved the publication's permit renewal.

Such a move is repulsive and unreasonable. MCA strongly urges the home ministry to reconsider the retraction of The Herald's printing permit. By denying The Herald's permit renewal, the home ministry could be misconstrued as being punitive against the religious publication's suit against the government on the usage restriction of the 'Allah' terminology.

The action by the authorities veers on stifling religious freedom in our country and this is unconstitutional and totally unacceptable. It is counter-productive against initiating trust between the religious bodies and the government.

As the government allows the publication of other religious-themed publications, for example 'Al Islam', MCA fails to understand the authority's move to deny Christians their right to spiritual growth as 'The Herald', a religious publication, is clearly meant for Catholics to learn about their faith deeper.

Moreover, the home ministry has imposed the conditions that the word 'Terhad' (Limited Circulation) must be printed at the top right hand corner of the newsletter.

The seizure of Christian literature and Bibles by the authorities and disputes against judicial decisions involving conversions had all contributed towards the backlash against the Barisan Nasional government. The present move by the home ministry will further be perceived as stifling the rights of non-Muslims to profess their faiths and will not only repulse Christians, but all decent-minded Malaysians.

The '1Malaysia' concept of mutual respect and inclusiveness should be upheld by all government departments. The home ministry should work towards engaging Christian bodies instead of acting to the contrary.

Apart from allowing 'The Herald' to continue its publication, MCA calls upon the home ministry to allow the application for the publication to have a section in the KadasanDusun language. There should be no barriers against printing the newsletter in the KadasanDusun language in line with Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

There should be no denying the rights of non-Muslims to read and practice matters regarding their faith in their own native language. As many indigenous Sabahans of KadasanDusun descent speak and raise their children in the KadasanDusun language, there is no valid ground to not have a KadasanDusun language section in 'The Herald'

Denying this is tantamount to denying Sabahans the right to religious communication between the church and its followers and to further deepen their spirituality in their native language.

・The writer is Political Education Bureau chief, MCA.

(3) 'Allah' relates to God and there is only one God, 13 November 2009

by Ps37:7

I refer to the Malaysiakini report The Herald loses permit amid 'Allah' row.

As a Malaysian, I am appalled at this turn of events. This decision epitomises the discrimination, racism, persecution and narrow-mindedness of our present government.

This is a direct contradiction to our prime ministers ‘1Malaysia' initiative. The word 'Allah' relates to God. There is only one God, and he is indeed great.

I believe in God with all my heart. How can a group of people dare lay claim to the word 'God'? It doesn't matter if it's in English, Chinese or Bahasa Melayu.

This is pride and arrogance at its worst, and God will indeed punish those who discriminate against others on account of His name.

I urge the Catholic Church in Malaysia to be steadfast in their pursuit of justice, and have faith that God will deliver them from this injustcie. They will be defeated, it just takes a little time.

4. Daily Express (http://www.dailyexpress.com.my)

Why bio on Mojuntin among banned: Ministry, 11 November 2009

Kuala Lumpur: "The Golden Son of the Kadazans", a biography on former State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Peter J. Mojuntin who died in the "Double 6" tragedy of June 1996, is among books still banned today.

Disclosing this in a written reply to Sepanggar MP Datuk Eric Majimbun in Parliament, the Home Ministry stated it was among 107 books by local authors banned by the Government within the last 10 years.

Apart from wanting to know the actual number of banned books Majimbun also asked what were the contents of "The Golden Son of the Kadazan" and whether it could be used as a historical reading material.

According to the Ministry, the book written by Bernard Sta Maria, was banned on June 22, 1978 because it contained elements that could threaten peace and order.

Firstly, the author mentioned that the late Tun Mustapha tried to stop the development of Christianity in Sabah and claimed that priests were ordered to go back to their place of origin, lest they be jailed.

Such allegation can create racial tension in Malaysia particularly among the Christians and Muslims, said the Ministry, adding the author also claimed the late Tun Fuad Stephen's dismissal as Chief Minister in 1965 contravened the Constitution and was made by the Federal Government simply because it was influenced by Mustapha who was then Head of State.

The Ministry said, hence, the book had been banned and cannot be used for historical reading.

Meanwhile, the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry in a written answer to Majimbun's question said the country has 656,602ha cultivated with paddy based on last year's statistics.

It said of this 503,290ha were in the peninsula and the remaining 153,312ha in Sabah and Sarawak.

The country's total paddy production last year was 2,353,032 metric tonnes, with an average production of 3.58 metric tonnes per hectare.

In the peninsula, the total average paddy production was 4.0 metric tonnes while in Sabah it was 3.55 metric tonnes and 1.78 metric tonnes per hectare in Sarawak.

The Ministry said by the end of the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) period next year the total paddy production area is expected to increase by 2.61 per cent to 673,271ha, of which 510,474ha would be in the peninsula and 163,271ha in Sabah and Sarawak.

The total paddy production of this country is also predicted to increase to 2,548,309metric tonnes per hectare then, with the total average production of 3.78 metric tonnes per hectare.

The Ministry said it has allocated RM92.2million under the 9MP period for the development of idle land throughout the country, including Sabah and Sarawak through the Agriculture Concentrated Development Area (ACDA) project and the Idle Land Management Project under the Food Supply Guarantee Policy Programme among others.

Until this year some RM56.8million had been channelled including RM11.7 to Sabah and Sarawak.

With the allocation it said some 4,879ha of idle land in the country had been developed with 248 projects, involving 3,988 participants.

It said the idle land development project will continue under the 10MP to ensure more idle land can be developed.

5. AnilNetto.com (http://www.anilnetto.com)

(1)Catholic Asian News gets a warning letter as well, 10 August 2008

The Catholic Asian News magazine has also received a warning letter from the Home Ministry. The letter was received some time in early July.And it’s for about the same reason as the warning letter to The Herald: for publishing articles which touch on politics.

Don’t they know that Jesus talked about a kingdom of God? That was one of the reasons he eventually got into trouble and received a death sentence. The Roman prefect Pontius Pilate asked Jesus at his trial: “Are you a king?”

The magazine is a monthly publication of the Kuala Lumpur Archdiocese of the Catholic Church in Malaysia.

(2)Herald confusion resolved , 13 November 2009

Updated: The permit for The Herald will be renewed, according to its editor after he emerged from a meeting this evening with government officials. He added that both sides agreed that the August letter still stands.

The plight of the Herald Catholic weekly newspaper in Malaysia must be a public relations nightmare for the Najib administration – as if it doesn’t have enough problems as it is.

If the government has really cancelled the permit (which it now reportedly denies), what does that say for the 1Malaysia concept and the government’s credibility internationally?

On the other hand, this development could have been the result of a bureaucratic bungle and confusion. In a letter in August, the government had turned down the application by the Church for an additional language – Kadazan-Dusun – to be included, but had otherwise approved the existing languages (Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil). The Church duly paid the annual publishing permit fee of RM800.

Later, the Ministry informed the Church that the “change of language” had not been approved and wanted to return the annual publishing permit fee. Why would it want to return the fee if it was not cancelling the permit?

I would imagine that the public relations folks – and even administration officials – must be scrambling behind the scenes to contain the negative publicity.

Meanwhile, Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew has been called for a meeting with government officials at 4.30pm.

I am hopeful that good sense will prevail and the Herald will continue to be published despite the numerous hurdles in its path.

6. The Malaysian Insider (http://www.themalaysianinsider.com)

(1) ‘Christians here called God “Allah” four centuries ago’, 13 November 2009

by Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR – Home Ministry officials in Putrajaya today were stunned to learn that the word “Allah” had been used by Catholics in this country to refer to the Christian God hundreds of years ago.

“I told them that ‘Allah’ had been used in this country because the lingua franca at that time was Malay,” Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew, the priest-editor of The Herald, told The Malaysian Insider.

The priest had met several senior aides to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in Putrajaya earlier this evening to clear up the confusion over the Catholic paper’s on-off publishing permit for next year.

Among the staffers present were the ministry’s head of publication control and Quranic texts and two special officers to Hishammuddin, Datuk Lau Yeng Peng and Datuk Michael Chong.

Andrew described the meeting as “cordial”.

During the hour-long dialogue, Andrew took the chance to draw their attention to a Malay-Latin dictionary published in 1631 which showed the translation for “Allah” and a Catholic prayer book published in 1894 brought over from Hong Kong.

The priest related that Hishammuddin’s aides were surprised to learn that Catholics had used the word “Allah” outside the Muslim context over four hundred years ago but declined to comment on the issue, explaining it was beyond their scope.

The church is challenging the home minister’s ban in recent years on it publishing the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God.

The ministry first threatened to cancel The Herald’s licence last year, effectively shutting down the country’s only Catholic publication.

The High Court here had earlier this week ejected nine Islamic bodies from intervening in the suit.

The fight to decide who can use the word “Allah” to mean what will be heard on Dec 14.

(2) Catholic paper will get 2010 permit, 13 November 2009

by Debra Chong

KUALA LUMPUR – The dispute over next year’s publishing permit for Malaysia’s sole Catholic newspaper The Herald is settled and it will continue to be published next year while Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today hotly denied it had ever revoked the permit.

Reverend Father Lawrence Andrew confirmed talk that the newpaper’s annual licence, which is under the scope of the Home Affairs Ministry, has been approved.

“It’s not a victory or anything,” Andrew told The Malaysian Insider over the phone while on his way home after an hour-long dialogue with senior aides to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein in Putrajaya this evening.

They are now talking sense, using reason instead of emotion,” he added.

Andrew expects to receive the permit within a week, after he reminded ministry officials of the bad experience he had in getting the current permit.

He had been notified the 2009 permit was approved only on Dec 31, the expiry date of the previous year’s permit, and received the permit proper only in January.

“They said they are issuing it,” Andrew said.

All print media owners here must have a publishing permit or risk jail and a fine under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984.

The issue had caused a public outcry a few days after being highlighted by The Malaysian Insider earlier in the week.

But national news agency Bernama reported Hishammuddin today calling the revocation report baseless as the weekly's publication was still allowed in four languages namely Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

"The only issue here is whether they would be allowed to print The Herald in Kadazandusun," he told a news conference after chairing a post-cabinet meeting here today.

Hishammuddin said that the weekly's editor had sent a letter to the ministry informing them of a deferment in the publication of the Kadazandusun version.

The parish priest of St Anne’s Church in Port Klang had been invited to a meeting yesterday with Hishammuddin’s special officer, Datuk Lau Yeng Peng, to clear up the confusion caused by two letters issued by the ministry a few months back.

Other key staffers also present at the meeting included Datuk Michael Chong, also a special officer to the home minister; and the head of the publication control and Quranic text division.

“We are to take the first letter and ignore the second letter,” Andrew said, adding that “the confusion was caused by wrong wording in the letters.”

Andrew did not want to comment further on the explanations from the ministry, but confirmed that one of the reasons given requested him to write in for a refund for “payment made too early”.

Ministry officials said the church only needed to pay the fee three months before the permit expires, implying that it was too hasty when it paid in August instead of October.

The ministry had on Aug 5, sent out a letter approving the 2010 permit for the paper to publish in four languages: Bahasa Malaysia, English, Mandarin and Tamil.

In the same letter, it noted the church had applied to publish in Kadazandusun, an ethnic language widely used in Sabah, but rejected the request, even though a large number of Malaysia’s 850,000 Catholics hail from Borneo. No reasons were given.

The ministry then requested the church to pay the RM800 fee made out to the Chief Secretary of the Home Affairs Ministry through a bank draft or money order within a month from the date of the letter, or before the current permit expires, which is on Dec 31.

The letter was undersigned Norlin Mudzafar on behalf of the home ministry’s chief secretrary.

The church promptly paid up within the month.

The next month, Andrew said, he received another letter from the ministry, dated Sept 3, and undersigned by Abdul Razak Abdul Latif from the publication control and Quranic text division, also on behalf of the ministry’s chief secretary.

The second letter rejected an application to change the language, which puzzled Andrew because he did not remember applying to change any language in The Herald.

The priest was more confused when the letter instructed him to furnish the ministry with four documents for a refund on the RM800 fee, namely: a valid copy of the bank statement in the name of the publisher, the “Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur”; a valid copy of the applicant’s identity card (IC); a valid copy of the organisation’s registration certificate; and a letter requesting a refund.

7. Utusan Online (http://www.utusan.com.my)

Permit Herald tidak ditarik, 13 November 2009

PUTRAJAYA 13 Nov. - Kementerian Dalam Negeri (KDN) menafikan tohmahan sesetengah pihak kononnya kerajaan telah menarik balik permit penerbitan akhbar Herald Catholic (Herald).

Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein berkata, dakwaan laman web tertentu bahawa kerajaan menarik balik permit Herald adalah tidak berasas.

Beliau sebaliknya berkata, Herald masih dibenarkan untuk dicetak dalam empat bahasa iaitu bahasa Melayu, Inggeris, Mandarin dan Tamil.

''Isu yang timbul sekarang ialah sama ada Herald akan dibenarkan untuk dicetak dalam bahasa Kadazan Dusun.

''Saya bagaimanapun ingin memaklumkan bahawa pihak pengarang Herald telah menulis surat bahawa mereka menangguhkan hasrat untuk mencetak dalam bahasa itu," katanya pada sidang akhbar selepas mempengerusikan mesyuarat pasca Kabinet di sini hari ini.

Hishammuddin berkata, kementeriannya bagaimanapun bersedia untuk berbincang jika pengarang Herald mahu mengeluarkan edisi bahasa Kadazan Dusun.

''Pegawai saya juga akan berjumpa dengan pihak Herald untuk berbincang mengenai pelbagai perkara," katanya.

Dalam pada itu, beliau berkata, pegawai kementeriannya diarahkan supaya tidak mengeluarkan sebarang kenyataan kepada media berhubung isu yang sensitif.

''Isu sensitif yang berhubung kait dengan agama, kaum serta sensitiviti bangsa perlu ditangani dengan bijaksana'' katanya.

8. Bernama.com (http://www.bernama.com.my)

Abdullah Launches Malaysian Chapter Of Global Compassion Charter, 12 November 2009

PETALING JAYA, Nov 12 (Bernama) -- Former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi on Thursday launched the Malaysian chapter of the worldwide 'Charter For Compassion'.

Describing the charter as a cooperative effort to restore compassionate thinking and action, he said its global launch was a noble initiative to understanding compassion among people of different faiths and providing help to the needy.

Chairman of Charter For Compassion in Malaysia Dr Chandra Muzaffar said the project was one of the most urgent tasks to build a global community where men and women of all races, nations and ideologies could live in peace.

The charter was mooted in February last year by Karen Armstrong, a former Roman Catholic nun who authored more than 20 books on common ideas in Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

BERNAMA

・Copyright © 2009 BERNAMA. All rights reserved.

(End)

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