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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Herald finally got its publishing permit.

The Herald finally got it publishing permit - by Aki Momogun

Malaysia’s only Catholic newspaper, Herald, finally got its publishing permit renewed for next year after several weeks of delay, its editor Father Lawrence Andrew confirmed in Kula Lumpur on Dec `5, 1009 .

Andrew disclosed that a newspaper representative collected the permit from the Home Affairs Ministry in Putrajaya yesterday as the editor was busy in court for the “Allah” hearing.

“We received a fax copy of the permit on Friday,” Andrew told The Malaysian Insider. “It would take two weeks for them to mail it to us,” he added.

Close aides to minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had assured Andrew a month ago at a specially-arranged meeting in Putrajaya that the latter would likely receive the 2010 permit by end November.

The priest became worried when the permit was delayed.

While checking with ministry officials to find out the status of the permit, he was told it was being held back because the Treasury had yet to issue a receipt for the RM800 fee, which had already been paid in August. Andrew appeared unhappy with the delay, but is relieved that he got the permit at all.

The home affairs ministry governs the issuance of the permits, which is a must under the country’s publishing laws.

The Herald is currently embroiled in a suit against the home minister who has banned it from using the word “Allah” for God outside the Muslim context.

The High Court here was told that a federal government ban on using the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God is unconstitutional.

The High Court will pronounce its judgment on Dec 30.

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