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Ministry to investigate Herald’s “Allah” use (Updated)

(Updated 6:10pm, 21 Jan 2009)

PUTRAJAYA, 21 Jan 2009: The Home Ministry will investigate claims that the Herald — The Catholic Weekly was still using the word “Allah” despite the government’s decision prohibiting the publication from doing so.

Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar said the decision to disallow the weekly from using the word “Allah” was a government’s decision and not that of the ministry.

“The case is not yet disposed of by the court. They should have waited for the court’s decision and not think as if they have all the rights and others don’t.

“We have been tolerant towards other religions; if we decide to ban the publication, they will get angry and accuse us of stifling freedom,” he told reporters after attending the ministry’s monthly gathering today.

In May, the High Court granted leave to the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur to apply for a judicial review against the Home Ministry’s decision to prohibit the weekly from using the world “Allah”.

“Religious issues are a sensitive matter. That is why I refrain from debating the issue but if a religion decides to show its strength and numerous other actions, I think it is verging on dangerous territories.

“To me, it is better that we resolve this in a non-confrontational manner,” he said.

On a blog found to be insulting Prophet Muhammad, Syed Hamid said, investigation papers had been submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chamber for further action.

On the retrenchment of foreign workers due to the global economic slowdown and the possibility of the country’s crime rate increasing, Syed Hamid said, employers had the right to terminate their employments.

“The retrenched workers should be sent back to their home countries. Employers should no longer take foreign workers; they should employ local workers,” he said. — Bernama



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