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Malaysia - Church rejects 'Herald' permit conditions
From The New Straits Times
KUALA LUMPUR: The Roman Catholic Church of Malaysia has rejected the three conditions imposed on it by the Home Ministry in the approval of the annual publishing permit of its weekly.
The publishers of the Herald and Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur Tan Sri Murphy Pakiam also planned to take the matter to court if the issue was not resolved by Friday.
In a letter of reply to the ministry, which was made available to the press, he criticised the conditions as "unreasonable", "irrational", "illegal" and "reeking of ill-will and bad faith".
The letter was addressed to the ministry's Publications and Quranic Text Control unit deputy secretary Abdul Razak Abdul Latif.
The ministry, in a letter received by Murphy on Dec 31 that gave the green light to publish the newspaper, laid down the following conditions:
- the publishing of the Herald in Bahasa Malaysia be stopped until the court decides on the move to seek a declaratory relief that it was entitled to use the word "Allah" in it;
- the publication can only be sold in churches; and
- the newspaper was only meant for Christians be printed clearly on the cover.
Murphy was perplexed by the first condition.
He said the condition was a serious violation of the constitutional freedom of expression and speech, adding that it also prohibited and/or diminished the rights of citizens to communicate in the national language, in contravention of the National Language Act 1967.
"Connecting the matter of publication in Bahasa Malaysia with the determination of the judicial review proceedings is not only grossly unreasonable, irrational and illegal, but also reeks of ill-will and bad faith in that this condition serves as a form of retribution or punishment on account of our filing of the judicial review."
Murphy said the Herald should be allowed to use the word "Allah" in its Bahasa Malaysia segment until the High Court decided otherwise.
He also took exception to the other two conditions.
"We wish to state that the Herald has always been made available only in Catholic churches.
"Further, the masthead 'Herald -- The Catholic Weekly' is self-explanatory and serves as sufficient notice to the world at large that it is a magazine meant only for Catholics in Malaysia."
So the Catholic Church in Malaysia has already been complying with the conditions of dhimmitude. Don't even contemplate ringing church bells.