Catholic weekly's legal fight to use the word "Allah": The door is closed, says Herald's editor

Catholic weekly's legal fight to use the word "Allah": The door is closed, says Herald's editor
File photo of Father Lawrence Andrew, editor of the Herald, arriving with his lawyer to hear the government’s appeal.

PUTRAJAYA: The editor of the Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew, is disappointed with the Federal Court decision but admitted that the "door is closed" in the Catholic weekly's legal fight to use the word "Allah".

"We are disappointed.Our counsel argued very well on procedural unfairness but the court ruled that that was not the case," he told reporters outside the courtroom after the decision was read out yesterday.

He said Malaysia would now have to work towards living in harmony and he hoped that the rights of minorities would not be trampled.

"In our understanding, God cares for the poor, the oppressed and the marginalised.

We pray that the rights of minorities will be a concern and that our conscience will open to the reality of the poor and underprivileged.

"In this context of religious faith, we hope that the right of the minorities to profess their faith will always be upheld," he said.

Asked how the Herald would move on, Father Andrew said that there wasn't anything more to be done but to live with the situation.

He said the Church would continue publishing the weekly's Bahasa Malaysia edition because there was a sizeable bumiputra, peranakan and orang asli population of Christians in the country.

MCA said the Federal Court, in dismissing the Herald's application, has missed a golden opportunity to clarify a Constitutional provision.

"It is unfortunate that the judiciary has been reluctant to address a Constitutional matter because it perceives it to be a political issue," said MCA Syariah Law and Policy Implementation Taskforce chairman Datuk Gan Ping Sieu.

"Many questions have been left unanswered and this will (come back to) haunt us and the Federal Court," he said.

"The earlier a decision is made, the better it will be (for the nation)."

If left unanswered, it will lead to uncertainty and rifts among the people, he added.

Gan and his deputy Datuk Khoo Chin Nam were holding a watching brief for the Catholic Church in the court yesterday on behalf of MCA.

He also complimented lead counsel for Herald Datuk Dr Cyrus Das' strong argument and criticised the respondents' unclear rebuttal.

"I have yet to see on what grounds they feel that there is no procedural unfairness," Gan said.

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