In its running battle with the authorities over the usage of the word Allah in its Herald, The Catholic Weekly, the Catholic Church has decided to go ahead to continue to use the word despite a prohibition imposed by the authorities.
In an article “Ministry Distorts Its Directive” in its current issue for the week beginning 18 Jan 2009, it said, “We are surprised that Che Din , the Secretary of the Koran Publication Control and Text Division of the Home Ministry has denied that they had prohibited HERALD from printing the Bahasa Malaysia section.”
“If his statement is true, then we are disappointed.”
The article said that it its previous edition on 11 Jan, it carried a letter from the Ministry which was written on 30 Dec 2008 informing them that they are prohibiting the paper from printing the Bahasa Malaysia section.
The letter said the publication of the Bahasa Malaysia section is prohibited until the court makes its ruling on the use of the word Allah. The church is currently suing the ministry over the prohibition of use of the word. Issued the previous year.
“We followed their directive and did not print the Bahasa Malaysia section on our 11 Jan edition of HERALD,” it said.
“Archbishop Murphy Pakiam (who is the publisher) then wrote a letter to the ministry demanding that it revoke its order against the use of Bahasa Malaysia.”
The article said, in the letter, the archbishop gave the ministry seven days to reply or it would take the government to court for the directive had contravened the Constitution and the National Language Act 1967.
The ministry replied on 7 Jan saying that it was lifting the ban. However, it is insisting that the HERALD is not permitted to use the Allah word until the court decides.
In its current issue, the HERALD is continuing to use the Allah word as in the past in its Bahasa Malaysia section.
The article said,” The HERALD does not use the word “Allah” for God in their English section nor is it used in the church for the English services.”
But it said, “All our prayer books and the Bible in Bahasa Malaysia use the word “Allah” for God.”