Seized copies of Herald released for distribution in Sabah

Tarani Palani,

The 2,000 copies of the Catholic weekly Herald seized by Home Ministry officials in Sabah last Thursday have now been released for distribution.

Father Lawrence Andrew, the publication’s editor, said the distribution ban imposed by the ministry on the latest edition of the weekly was lifted at around 11am today.

Dstribution of the edition to parishes in neighbouring Sarawk as well as peninsular Malaysia was not affected.

“This is happening for the first time so we want to know why it is happening,” Andrew told when contacted.

“We are waiting for a report or some kind of information. You can’t just take something which belongs to someone else,” he said.

When asked if he will write to the Home Ministry seeking an explanation , he said that he will contemplate the option as the ministry may already be aware of the publication’s stand on the matter through press releases and media interviews.

He said that the 2,000 copies were seized at the Kota KInabalu International Airport, with s the authorities refusing to release them unless instructed by Putrajaya.

“We tried calling them on Friday morning and evening and once again on Saturday but there was no reply. Normally the publication is distributed on Friday evening or Saturday.

“Then today we received a call saying that it can be distributed,” Andrew said adding that the forwarding company was the party that dealt with Putrajaya on the matter.

Andrew lamented that the weekly only reached one church in Kota Kinabalu at noon today, and that too after Sunday mass.

The other copies will be distributed later today and tomorrow.

Andrew had earlier explained that the word “Allah” appeared in three articles in the affected issue of the Herald , but that it was only being used in the same context as any news agency would.

He stressed that the Herald had not gone against the court ruling.

On Oct 14, the Court of Appeal upheld the Home Ministry’s ban on the use of “Allah” in the publication.