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Friday, November 13, 2009

Confusion over the Printing License Permit (in 2010) of 'The Herald'

KUALA LUMPUR: A news portal had earlier reported that Malaysia’s weekly Catholic newspaper has lost its publishing permit for next year amid a long-running dispute over its use of the word "Allah", the editor said Thursday.

The loss of The Herald’s permit comes as it prepares for a High Court hearing on December 14 in a legal battle between the Catholic Church and the authorities over the use of the world "Allah" in the paper’s Malay-language section.

However, the Home Ministry, as reported in the same news portal, clarified that The Herald's permit for publication has not been revoked and that the renewal of its permit for 2010 is in process.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.

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