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The Star moves to integrate media platforms

Posted: 10 Sep 2013 12:00 AM PDT

(The Star) - The Star celebrated its 42nd anniversary with the goal to integrate its print and digital platforms.

Star Publications (M) Bhd acting group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said the integration of the company's print, radio, LiTV and digital platforms was important.

"The Star is at a transition point now; although The Star remains the biggest English daily, we must continue to strengthen our digital platform.

"We have to change the way we work and put effort in convergence," he said at the celebration at Star Media Hub, Bukit Jelutong.

Wong added that the way the media delivered news now was also different – it is not just about utilising the online platform but it needed to have the cutting edge to move forward.

The media, he said, must always innovate or it would evaporate.

Wong remembered the scepticism the company faced when it first launched the online portal but was proud to announce that despite competition from other online portals,

The Star Online is still the number one news portal in Malaysia.

Some of the retired key movers of The Star, whom Wong referred to as "Old Warriors" were also invited to the event.

"We must not forget our roots, the past is important," he said.

There was a cake-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion and employees enjoyed performances and a sumptuous spread.

At the anniversary, 29 employees were given the 15-Year Long Service awards in appreciation for their services to the company.

Ads and Support assistant manager Tan Chin Ai, 37, remembered how they had to cover the fax machines with cardboard every Friday before leaving work at the old office in Section 13, Petaling Jaya, in case it rained because the roof leaked.

"The excitement of the job is what keeps me motivated for 15 years, I learn different things every day," she said.

Assistant store keeper Mohd Kamal Mohd Mohd Jan, 40, has only good memories working in The Star.

"The company provides us benefits. I feel appreciated.

"I am proud to tell others that I work for The Star. I hope to work here till I retire," he said.


Teo and group stages LDP coup

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 05:51 PM PDT

(The Star) - A coup has been staged in the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) with one faction holding a supreme council meeting Tuesday and sacking the party president Datuk V.K.Liew.

In the ongoing leadership dispute in Sabah's oldest Barisan Nasional component party, 29 LDP supreme council members who was sacked by Liew two weeks ago held the meeting where they made the decision.

They sacked Liew as a president and suspended him and his newly appointed secretary general Loretto Padua as members of the party.

They also endorsed party deputy president Senator Datuk Chin Su Phin to be acting president at the meeting held at the Sabah Golf and Country Club here

LDP secretary general Datuk Teo Chee Kang said that they were the legitimate ``original'' supreme council and Liew's move to sack all of them earlier was illegal and not in accordance to the party's constitution.

He also said that following the supreme council decision to suspend the membership of the president and his proclaimed "secretary general,'' the two would be barred from entering the party headquarters to conduct any business in Kapayan.

"Liew's action has brought disrepute to the party and we the supreme council has decided to remove him and Padua pending disciplinary action,'' said Teo, the only state cabinet minister from LDP in Chief Minister's Datuk Musa Aman cabinet.

"Liew is the only elected office bearer in his supreme council, he has tried to sack all of us and set up a new supreme council illegally,'' he said, adding that they had the support of 19 of the 29 party divisions.

Asked how they were going implement their decisions and legitimise their position as the rightful LDP leaders, Teo said that they have their ways and means to do it.

"For, now we can't disclose. It is a secret," he said.

He said that they would go ahead with the Oct 20 party annual congress and will hold an election and form a new disciplinary and election committee.

Teo also said that the supreme council only endorsed to fully support the president and the deputy president in its resolution in June but never supported any resolution for no contest for the two positions.

Liew does not recognise the rival group and has been holding his meetings in Sandakan with none of the party leaders using the party headquarters here to hold meetings. 


Malaysia to invest another RM 160 bill on rail development : Najib

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 05:42 PM PDT

(NST) - Malaysia expects to invest another RM160 billion on rail development by 2020, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said today.

Since 1990, Najib said, the government had invested more than RM50 billion on rail networks and related projects.

Once a dying industry, he said, railroads have made a strong comeback due to their inherent efficiency, whether in terms of land usage, fuel consumption and transportation costs. 

"In an era of scarcity and pressure on costs, there has been and will be a growing focus on efficiency, which plays to the strength of rail. 

"There is also realisation that railways don't just move people and goods but they also also generate and spread prosperity, create jobs, open new markets and support economic growth," he said when launching the Rail Business Asia Conference 2013 here.


Former NST boss: Najib still a hero, but has too many ‘Robins’, ‘Catwomen’

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 04:43 PM PDT

(MM) - Datuk Seri Najib Razak is fully capable of delivering on his reform promises, but the many "Robins and Catwomen" crowding his government could end up tripping the prime minister, Datuk A. Kadir Jasin said today.

Likening Najib to the fictional character Batman, the former New Straits Times (NST) group editor-in-chief said the prime minister's good intentions often get "lost in translation".

"I am sure, he wants to be a hero like the Batman saving Gotham," Kadir said in a blog posting here.

"But the problem with the PM is he has too many Robins – males and females – who are competing with other for his love and affection, money and power."

Najib, the country's sixth prime minister whom many have dubbed a reformist, has often been warned that the greatest hurdle he would have to conquer would come from within his own party Umno.

His predecessor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, spoke of this in a newly-released book where he warned Najib that he would face the same resistance that he faced during his time.

"Najib is trying to do many good things. He is trying to transform the economy, the government and make changes.

"But he faces the same problem that I did ― resistance," Malaysia's fifth prime minister said in an interview featured in the 620-page book titled "Awakenings: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia".

Abdullah succeeded the nation's longest-serving prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in 2003.

A year later and riding on the promise of reforms, the man fondly referred to as Pak Lah led Barisan Nasional (BN) to its most dominant mandate in Election 2004.

But a scant five years after, he was hounded from office by the man who put him there, having led BN from the euphoria of 2004 to the despair of 2008 general election when it lost its customary stranglehold on Parliament.

"I was perhaps too idealistic and thought everyone would embrace the changes which could be the good of the country and people," Abdullah said.

During his time, Abdullah had loosened the reins on the media and allowed seemingly open dissent on the Internet, the latter of which is often credited for the unprecedented gains made by the loose opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat during Election 2008.

When it was his turn, Najib embarked on similarly radical changes, even going as far as to repeal old preventive laws like the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Emergency Ordinance,, promising to do away with Bumiputera quotas and promoting needs-based affirmative action.

The moves earned Najib much criticism from Malay right-wing groups like Perkasa, who lament that these changes would result in the loss of power for the Malays, the country's largest ethnic group.

"Can the Prime Minister be made to change?" Kadir asked in his blog. "Some Umno dreamers and the pro-Umno Malay cendekiawan think it is possible."

But, he continued, what if Najib, the "prime minister of all Malaysians", does not want to change?

"Or he does not see why he should change since he does not think he has done anything wrong?" he asked again.

Kadir said these questions were raised after he received an event invite via text message this morning by the Prime Minister's office.

The event, he explained, was a special announcement by Najib on "strengthening the Bumiputera economy", to be held at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Shah Alam.

Kadir said prior to the text message, several "Umno dreamers and pro-Umno Malay cendekiawan" had told him that since it was so difficult to change the prime minister, they would now move to change the way he runs the country.

But in response, Kadir said he told them that he had seen enough of Najib through his political career to know that this was unlikely to be possible.

"So I told them, if the PM promises me a glass of water, I would not believe in his 'janji ditepati' (promise fulfilled) until I drink the water and not be poisoned by it," he said.

"It sounds harsh," he added. "[But] I am not accusing the PM of trying to poison me. I am not worth wasting the rat's poison on."

"But what I am saying is, many thing that he says, promises and implements are lost in translation." 


No identity cards were issued to illegals in Sabah, says NRD

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 04:34 PM PDT

Lee Shi-Ian, TMI

The director-general of the National Registration Department today denied that identity cards were issued to illegal immigrants under Project M or Project IC, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into illegal immigrants in Sabah heard today.

Datuk Jariah Mohd Said, the RCI's 208th witness, admitted she had heard of Project IC or Project M, but denied any identity cards had been issued to illegal immigrants as claimed by previous witnesses.

She admittd that there were cases where more than one person shared the same identity card number.

Jariah said there were policies and procedures which had to be followed in order for identity cards to be issued to illegal immigrants.

She added that an applicant must fulfill all the conditions before their application could be considered and approved.



Azalina backs down from Umno Wanita chief race

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 03:01 PM PDT

(MMO) -  News reports claimed Najib would still want to maintain good relations with the tough Wanita leader and her decision to allow Shahrizat to defend her post without contest will see her offered the chance to lead a GLC.

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — Datuk Seri Azalina Othman, the woman touted as Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abd Jalil's strongest contender, has been "advised" to stay out of the Wanita Umno chief race, several news reports said today.

The about-turn, which will likely raise eyebrows, comes following a discussion among the ruling party's top leaders who were reportedly concerned that the contest would affect unity in the wing.

Quoting a source close to the former minister, news portal The Malaysian Insider said that Azalina's sudden decision came "after she was advised to do so" while English daily The Star, citing an insider from her campaign team, reported that the move came after a discussion with top party leaders.

"Sources said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had also advised Azalina to reconsider her decision to take on Shahrizat. There was concern that the contest may unsettle the wing, which is seen as the backbone of Umno," the newspaper said.

The Star further reported that Azalina would instead gun for a Umno supreme council post while the online news portal said her backing down from the race would secure her a senior post in the Wanita Umno wing and a leadership role in a government-linked company.

"She loves Umno. She is a party loyalist who listens to the party leadership. She is a fighter and ready to go for it but she wants to respect the advice they give her," The Star quoted the source as saying.

In a text message to The Malay Mail Online today, Azalina did not confirm the news reports but only said that an official statement on the matter will be made on September 20, a day before nominations open for posts in the Wanita, Youth and Puteri wings.

Azalina was the founding leader of Puteri Umno and is the incumbent Umno supreme council member elected from 2004 to 2009. She was appointed to sit in the highest decision making body of the party by then Prime Minister and former Umno president, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

News reports claimed Najib would still want to maintain good relations with the tough Wanita leader and her decision to allow Shahrizat to defend her post without contest will see her offered the chance to lead a GLC.



Tengku Adnan reminded of MOU signed with Hindraf

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 02:45 PM PDT

The annex to the temple (pix), located at Jalan P Ramlee, was demolished by City Hall on Sept 1 despite pleas from various quarters.

"It is also for this reason that Waytha Moorthy has been inducted into government. He understands the problem best and there are clear ways of resolving these issues in a win-win fashion," Ganesan said.

Himansu Bhatt,

GEORGE TOWN -  A day after Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor defended the controversial demolition of the century-old Sri Muneswarar Kaliyaman temple's annex in Kuala Lumpur, the Federal Territories Minister has been reminded that he had signed an agreement before the last general election to safeguard and resolve issues on Hindu temples and burial grounds in Malaysia.  

Hindu Rights Action Force (Hindraf) advisor N Ganesan today called on Tengku Adnan, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) secretary-general, to expedite the special committee on the matter as agreed upon in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that he signed on behalf of BN with Hindraf's P Waytha Moorthy.
"Surely Tengku Adnan must have at least read what he was signing," Ganesan, a key aide to Waytha Moorthy who is now a deputy minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said today. 
The signing on April 9 was witnessed amidst the glare of media publicity by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak himself. It was a crucial precursor to Hindraf throwing its full political support to BN, and to Waytha Moorthy being made deputy minister after the May 5 election.
Ganesan noted that section three of the MOU stipulated that a new unit shall be established within the PM's Department, chartered to implement Hindraf's blueprint for the upliftment of the marginalised Indian community, and to which full executive authority will be devolved and budgets allocated to carry out the charter.
It also specified that a sub-committee be set up by the unit's head to conduct a detailed audit on Hindu temples, shrines and burial grounds throughout Malaysia, and subsequently to develop detailed proposals to eliminate problems surrounding their locations.
"Tengku Adnan, the solution is there right where you had signed," Ganesan said. "Put Waytha Moorthy to work. He is in Government specifically for that purpose."
The wording in the MOU explained that "the main objective of this programme is to ensure that there shall be no more Hindu temples, shrines and burial grounds located on land other than which has been gazetted for their specific purpose by 2018."
'Waytha understands the problem best'
"It is also for this reason that Waytha Moorthy has been inducted into government. He understands the problem best and there are clear ways of resolving these issues in a win-win fashion," Ganesan said. 
"He should be allowed to function and not be myopically told to keep his silence all in the name of collective responsibility when things are obviously being handled inappropriately."
Waytha Moorthy was recently criticised and told to toe the line by several BN leaders from Umno after he questioned the police's apparent "shoot-to-kill" action in exterminating five Indian men allegedly linked to a gang.
The annex to the heritage temple, located at Jalan P Ramlee, was demolished by the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) on Sept 1, despite pleas and resistance by devotees. Reports that deities were forcibly removed also spread in the social media. 
Tengku Adnan yesterday labelled the temple a "shrine" and said the annex was an illegal extension built on DBKL reserve land.
"Why do we always have problems with temples? Not with churches, mosques nor Chinese temples… Why? Ask yourself, don't ask me," he was reported as saying.
The temple had reportedly been occupying 5,000 square feet of land in the city's Golden Triangle business zone since 1911.

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Malaysian universities drop in world rankings, lack “highly cited” research

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 02:05 PM PDT

(TMI) - Only seven Malaysian universities made it to QS's list of 800 top institutions for 2013.

Malaysian public universities continue to fall in the QS World University rankings with only Universiti Malaya (UM) still in the top 200 this year, while Singapore's National University of Singapore (NUS) has moved up to 24 in the world.

QS said Malaysian universities do not produce enough cited research although they have quality academics and produce employable graduates.

QS research head Ben Sowter said Malaysian universities' rankings plunged due to deficiencies in research but credited them for the quality of their academics and the employability of their graduates.

"The drop in performance for Malaysian institutions this year reflects the intensity of global competition," he said in a statement.

"But a five-year comparison suggests they have made some significant progress.

"Malaysian institutions are not yet producing highly cited research, but they have developed a solid profile among the world's academics and graduate employers," Sowter added.

Only seven Malaysian universities made it to QS's list of 800 top institutions for 2013. They are Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), International Islamic University Malaysia (UIA) and Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

Of the seven, only UM has maintained its position in the top 200 although it dropped from number 156 in 2012 to number 167 in the current list.

But UTM, which was ranked 358th in 2012, was the only one to rise and is now at number 355.

UKM dropped eight spots to number 269 and USM fell 29 spots to number 355. UPM plunged from number 360 to 411-420, but both UIA and UiTM plummeted by 100 points. Last year, UIA was in the ranks of 401 to 450 and UiTM was at 601+.

An overview of the rankings indicated an improvement among Asian universities and a general drop among US institutions.

Of the 62 Asian institutions in the top 400, 70% rank higher this year than in 2007/2008 while 64 out of 83 US universities have dropped in ranking.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) has outshone the University of Hong Kong (HKU) for the first time. NUS is placed at the 24th spot whereas HKU is at the 26th. 



NUS ranked as top university in Asia

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 01:59 PM PDT 

The university, which was inaugurated in 1991, said that its rise in the rankings in recent years reaffirms its "standing as the fastest rising Asian university in the world's Top 50".

Today Online 

SINGAPORE — The National University of Singapore (NUS) has been ranked as the top university in Asia in the latest global rankings from higher education information provider Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), with the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) continuing its steady ascent up the standings.

This is the first time that NUS topped all Asian universities in the QS World University Rankings, which was introduced in 2009 after QS ended its five-year collaboration with Times Higher Education.

Globally, NUS was placed 24th this year, moving up a spot from last year when it was second to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) as Asia's highest-ranking university.

NTU climbed six positions to 41 — rising a total of 33 places over the last three years. Its latest ranking puts it ahead of American tertiary institutions such as Brown University and New York University.

The QS World University Rankings evaluates over 800 universities in the world based on academic reputation, employer reputation, citations per faculty, faculty student ratio, and proportions of international students and international faculty.

QS was scheduled to publish the full rankings this morning. NUS said in a press release that it was placed ninth in the world for academic reputation, and 16th for employer reputation. It added that it improved "significantly" in the number of research papers published and citations generated.

NUS President Tan Chorh Chuan said the university's performance was "a reflection of our country's strong support for higher education and the ethos of continually seeking excellence". He added that the university has strived to differentiate itself "through educational innovation, multidisciplinary research and strategic partnerships".

He said: "We will continue to keep a sharp focus on nurturing and recruiting talented academics, staff and students, while providing a conducive environment for this thriving community to pioneer advances in education and research and its application that will have a strong positive impact on Singapore and society."

NTU President Bertil Andersson said it was "remarkable" that Singapore, being a "small city-state", has two universities among "the world's top 41". Adding that the latest ranking was "a boost for us and will help us attract even more top students", Professor Andersson said that NTU "stands out as the 'new kid on the block' when compared to the likes of Harvard, Cambridge and even NUS, which has more than 100 years of history".

The university, which was inaugurated in 1991, said that its rise in the rankings in recent years reaffirms its "standing as the fastest rising Asian university in the world's Top 50".

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Exclusive: Malaysia's Petronas exiting Venezuela crude project - sources

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 09:41 AM PDT 

(Reuters) - Petronas planned to feed a new $19 billion refinery and petrochemical complex in southern Malaysia with Venezuelan crudes produced at its joint venture. The consortium paid $1.05 billion to the Venezuelan government in May 2010 to become a partner in the project and it has to deliver an extra payment of $1 billion to finance PDVSA's stake, according to the terms of the deal. 

Malaysian oil company Petronas is exiting one of the biggest petroleum projects in Venezuela's Orinoco belt after disagreements with state-run PDVSA, sources close to the venture told Reuters.

The flagship project, called Petrocarabobo, has planned investments of about $20 billion over 25 years and calls for building a 200,000 barrel per day upgrader to convert heavy crude into light crude oil.

When the venture was formed in 2010, Venezuela touted it as a sign that oil companies were willing to put up with demanding fiscal conditions in exchange for access to the world's largest oil reserves.

State-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) has 60 percent of the project. Petronas belongs to a consortium that holds 40 percent. Its other partners are Spain's Repsol, India's ONGC (ONGC.NS) and two small Indian firms. Petronas holds an 11 percent stake.

"We exited already," said a top executive from Petronas, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. He added that the company will not run any other projects in the OPEC-member country.

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PBS may no longer strong, powerful – secretary general

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 09:38 AM PDT 

(Borneo Post) - A political party will reach the maturity stage and then decay stage when party vision or mission, rules and regulations, institutions are deemed to be outdated and no longer relevant.

Grassroots sentiments for Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) as a political brand name under the leadership of party president Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan remains strong and well entrenched in the hearts and minds of the majority of members and supporters.

However, PBS members and supporters have been urged to face the stark reality that the party may no longer be as strong and powerful as what it was 20 years ago.


PBS secretary general Datuk Henrynus Amin said so many things have changed in the last 20 years and the outcome of the recent general election seemed to reinforce public perception that party's downward trend in terms of power and influence has begun.


He said it was very unfortunate that PBS has dwindled to a small fraction of its original support base in terms of the number of state and parliamentary seats.


"We should stop referring to ourselves as the second largest party compared to Umno when in fact PBS only has seven state seats and four parliamentary seats, Keningau, Kota Marudu, Tawau and Batu Sapi," he said apparently referring to some popular statements by certain PBS leaders to describe the party.


"We should be realistic and instead start rebuilding the party support base to regain lost ground," he said.


"PBS has the potential to become strong again or to be reborn if there were to be a political will to change and rebuild the party," said Henrynus when delivering his speech at the closing of the Klias PBS annual general meeting on Saturday.


He said PBS must change and renew itself in tandem with changing times if the party were to regain the respect and support of the people of Sabah.


As a first step, Henrynus proposed PBS should heed the call by the president to groom capable younger leaders with the necessary character and competence to lead the party.


He said the party president has given his blessings for the process of renewal of leadership through the popular will of the grassroots members during party election.


He said it is normal for any political organization to go through the various stages of the political cycle, from creation to maintenance and to decay.


According to him, a political party will reach the maturity stage and then decay stage when party vision or mission, rules and regulations, institutions are deemed to be outdated and no longer relevant.


However, PBS, he said has not reached the critical stage of decay as it is still comparatively young and relevant to the people of Sabah.


He said PBS political struggle is still relevant, especially the party's call for unity which is its defining agenda to bring together all Malaysians in Sabah regardless of race and religion.


He said unity of every Malaysians in Sabah is needed to fight, preserve and protect Sabah's constitutional rights within the Malaysian federation.


For example, he said the united voice and resilience of all Malaysians in Sabah convinced the Prime Minister and the federal government to form the Royal Commission of Inquiry on illegal immigration.


Thus, he said PBS transformation agenda involved reorganizing the party machinery and empowering party leadership at all levels.


He said PBS must be more organized not only at the state level but also at divisional and branch levels and its leadership able to exercise their responsibilities.


"The fact that the PBS president has signalled his desire to retire within the next few years has created concern in the minds of party members on the viability of the party without him at its helm," he said.


He said this was because Tan Sri Pairin is a political leader in his own class and no one in PBS would be able to match him in terms of his charisma and leadership ability.


He said the prospect of managing PBS without Pairin is a daunting task given the fact PBS has more than 100,000 members from 61 divisions and more than 2,000 branches comprising of members from all races and religious groups.


"Tan Sri Pairin has held the party together for almost 30 years so the party must survive and prosper regardless," he said, and added Pairin as president has set a firm foundation for the party to survive to the next decade.


"What is needed is a revamp of the party at all levels to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and relevance.


"Revamp of PBS must also include revamp of BN Sabah to reflect genuine cooperation and a more equitable power sharing formula at all levels," he said.


Henrynus reminded the PBS Klias delegates to identify and support political leaders who are sincere, faithful and oriented towards serving the people, not their selfish self-interest.


He firmly believes PBS grassroots leaders, members and supporters would reject political leaders who have been elected to power and position for so long but have forgotten their roots and failed to live up to expectation.


Except for the post of party president, he expected all the PBS divisions to nominate candidates for all posts in the Supreme Council.


He said party election is normal and a healthy exercise as it is clearly provided for under the PBS Constitution.


He disclosed that the PBS Congress will be held on October 21-23 at Hongkod Koisaan (KDCA) where the party election would be held.


The PBS party election was scheduled last year but due to the general election it was postponed to this year.


As Allah case resumes, Catholic Church hunkers down for long battle

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 09:10 AM PDT

A man flies a flag calling for Muslims to save 'Allah', outside the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, August 22, 2013. 

(MMO) - The Catholic Church could decide to drop the case if it loses at the appellate court level, but Selvarajah voiced concern that such a move could pave the way for the government to extend enforcement beyond the confines of the court ruling.

The Catholic Church is ready for another long legal battle as the tussle over the use of the word "Allah" returns to the courts today.

This morning, the Court of Appeal will hear an application by Putrajaya to overturn a landmark High Court decision made in 2009 allowing Catholic newspaper, the Herald, to use the word in its Malay section.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said the case will not be so quickly disposed of, going by past experience.

"We took almost a year to get the verdict in the High Court... this is not going to be the end of it tomorrow (today)," he told the Malay Mail Online when contacted.

"This is not a one-off thing. Both sides are going to put all their arguments forward, and this is a major issue," he added.

The appellate court in August ruled in favour of allowing the government's appeal against the 2009 High Court decision, which has been at the centre of frosty interfaith ties in the country over the last three years.

The ruling came about a month after the Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur filed an application to strike out the appeal after the church's patience finally ran out over the lack of progress on the government's appeal, which was filed in January 2010.

The Catholic Church's legal counsel, S. Selvarajah, said it would be left with two options should it lose the case at the Court of Appeal level; raise it at the Federal Court level, or drop it entirely and stop using the word "Allah" in the Herald.

"I can't speak for the Church at this point of time, but these are the two options. If the court decides in the Church's favour, they will certainly go for it," he said referring to the government's move to appeal against the High Court decision.

"The fact that they went this far at the Court of Appeal, means that they will go all the way to Federal Court if need be. They are determined that this will be settled once and for all."

Conversely, the Catholic Church could decide to drop the case if it loses at the appellate court level, but Selvarajah voiced concern that such a move could pave the way for the government to extend enforcement beyond the confines of the court ruling.

Father Lawrence arrives for a court hearing at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, August 22, 2013.Father Lawrence arrives for a court hearing at the Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, August 22, 2013."This is a Herald issue, so therefore it simply means the Herald ceases to use the word and it doesn't affect the Al-Kitab issue.

"Of course the government will interpret the decision broadly that the Herald cannot use the word for reasons of national security, so they may clamp down on others," he said.

Aside from the Herald, there is still the issue of the use of the word Allah in Malay language bibles, otherwise known as the Al-Kitab — imported mostly from Indonesia — that Islamic authorities argue could be used to convert Muslims.

The Allah row erupted in 2008 when the Home Ministry threatened to revoke the Herald's newspaper permit, prompting the Catholic Church to sue the government for violating its Constitutional rights.

The 2009 High Court decision upholding the Catholic Church's Constitutional right to use the word Allah shocked Muslims who considered the word can only refer to the Muslim God. It also led to Malaysia's worst religious strife, with houses of worship throughout the country coming under attack.

Christians are Malaysia's third-largest religious population at 2.6 million people, according to statistics from the 2010 census, behind Muslims and Buddhists. 

Tengku Adnan draws fire from Hindus for suggesting only their temples cause problems

Posted: 09 Sep 2013 09:07 AM PDT 

(TMI) - Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor stepped into a minefield when he "downgraded" a century-old Hindu temple into a shrine and then pointedly asked why the authorities "always had problems with temples and not churches, mosques or Chinese temples".

The attitude of the Federal Territories minister to a sacred Hindu spot hit a raw nerve among other politicians and the head of the Malaysia Hindu Sangam, who responded strongly today.

They questioned if Tengku Adnan knew enough about Hinduism to make comments on what is a shrine or a temple and on the Sri Muneswarar Kaliyaman Temple, in particular.

The Malaysia Hindu Sangam, the MIC youth chief, an Indian opposition politician and a lawyer took the minister to task.

On Tengku Adnan's suggestion that only Hindu temples were problematic, Malaysia Hindu Sangam president Datuk R.S. Mohan Shan shot back that it was because the government did not provide Hindus a proper site to build their temples.

"This is a ridiculous statement by the minister. We are the victims here. We are not the trouble-causers," Mohan responded.

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