HERE WITH YOU
FOKUS BERANI IKHLAS



Thursday, 31 January 2008

THURSDAYS WITH...

MINNIE: Hi Buddy. What's the gloom look for? Your puppy died? Ha ha ha
BUDDY: Is it that obvious? No, I am just thinking about an email sent by EEBOT. It is actually addressed to you and me.
MINNIE: What? Eebot is not around again today? What happened to him?
BUDDY: May be you should read the email. It is self explanatory, well, sort of.
"MINNIE, EEBOT, hi. How are my two best friends doing?"
MINNIE: Hey... he mentioned my name first-lah, Buddy. That's cool!
BUDDY: Ha ha ha... so what if Eebot typed you first? Are you closer to him and I to him? We are all the best of friends, you know.
"Frankly speaking, I miss our get-together at that corner of the shop every Thursday. Well, actually, I really miss your company. Not so much the day."
MINNIE: See, see. He missed us. Wish he is here.
BUDDY: OK-lah, just continue reading, would you? Must you comment on every line?
"You see, in the last few weeks, I have been thinking a lot. Reflecting is more like it. As you know well, I like to think of myself as a politician. Looking back, I wish I have done more. This year is election year, if not the general election, it certainly will be a party election period.
"Should I go further and contest in the party's Supreme Council level? Will such position do any good to the community, including my family?
"May be I better quit. Look for more money and later when I am economically sound, then I re-join political party.
"MINNIE, BUDDY, what is in store for us tomorrow? Actually, I am sad because our community is not involved enough in ensuring a better future for our community and our country as a whole.
"Then again, who am I?"
MINNIE: Hey, where are the rest of this email? Why you bring only one page?
BUDDY: Actually, I was half way printing the other pages but my printer ran out of ink. What to do? May be I should just forward it to you?
MINNIE: No, no. THe fact that Eebot addressed it to both of us but email it only to you means our misssing friend want us to read and discuss about it here. Print it and bring it in the next meeting, OK.
BUDDY: May be Eebot will be here then......

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

SABAH DEVELOPMENT CORRIDOR

(IT IS always good to try and see both sides of the coin. Am sure you have read much about the Sabah Development Corridor. For the benefit of those who have nothing better to do, following is a Reuters write-up on the plan and one of the many comments.)

Malaysia unveils Borneo growth plan as polls loom
Posted by kasee
Tuesday, 29 January 2008
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Malaysia unveiled a $32.4 billion development plan on Tuesday for its eastern state of Sabah, on Borneo island, as the nation geared up for general elections widely expected by end-March.
ccPrime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gave no spending details in unveiling the 18-year plan in Sabah, but he is putting economic development on top of his agenda as he tries to counter his waning popularity and secure another five-year mandate.
"It is not the intention of God that you should live in poverty and become backward," Abdullah said in launching the Sabah Development Corridor, the latest in a series of growth corridors that are becoming the trademark of his economic model.
"Sabah is endowed by God... We shall not leave it untouched," he said in a ceremony that was opened by traditional Borneo dancers wearing feathered headresses and wielding blow-pipes.
Sabah, one of the two Malaysian states on Borneo Island, is rich in natural resources such as oil, natural gas, timber, palm oil and cocoa. But the wealth is not evenly distributed and the state is still home to some of Malaysia's hardcore poor.
In his speech, Abdullah said only that the government planned to spend about 5 billion ringgit ($1.54 billion) in the state, and this amount was already budgeted for in the Ninth Malaysia Plan, a five-year national development agenda announced in 2006.
But a public-relations firm hired by the government to promote the Sabah plan said later that it called for a total of 105 billion ringgit ($32.4 billion) in state and private investment over 18 years. The firm did not give a breakdown.
Over the 18 years, the government also hopes to create 900,000 jobs, boost manufacturing investments by more than 10-fold, and grow the state economy by four-fold.
Agriculture, food production and tourism are key focus areas, with some of the funds earmarked to build roads.
Last week, a pollster said Abdullah's approval rating had hit a personal low, with voters unhappy over rising prices, racial tensions and crime.
The poll by market research firm Merdeka Center gave an approval rating of 61 percent in December, the lowest since he took office, and down by 10 percentage points from November.
($1=3.240 Malaysian Ringgit) (Reporting by Jalil Hamid, Niki Koswanage, Editing by Mark Bendeich and Bill Tarrant)

COMMENTS
written by oknyua, January 29, 2008 13:59:10
How much is 105 billion ringgit? Lets see RM105,000,000,000 divide by 18 years =RM 5.8 billion/year. Sabah Population 800,000. 5.8 b divide by 800,000 = RM7,250 per person per year. Conclusion: Don't spend the money, give to Sabahan and for 18 years they earn what most security guards earn, RM604 per month. Then they just supplement their income by working in the oil palm estate. Why need PR people to do that?

1000 WORDS - NAVIGATOR

BEHOLD, oh ancient ones
Isolated you were
But the direction clear
You felt the air
You moved forward
Lead me on. Now. Beyond.

GENERAL ELECTION IN FEBRUARY

I AM a politician. I am working for the Government.
BERNAMA is a government news agency. And it came out with the following news story on Tuesday. On paper, the general elections will be held soon after the Chinese New Year. In February.
My belief? It is going to be very very soon. May be within the next two months. What next?

Cabinet To Take Group Photo Fuels Speculation Election Is Near
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 (Bernama) -- All Cabinet ministers are expected to take a group photograph in Putrajaya tomorrow in what appears to indicate that the general election is imminent.
Several Cabinet ministers contacted by Bernama confirmed that a photo session has been scheduled after the Cabinet meeting tomorrow but refused to give any details."We were told to dress up for tomorrow's meeting.
Normally it's for a group photo (when such instructions are given)," said a minister who did not want to be identified when contacted.
He said Cabinet ministers normally would gather for a group photo at the beginning of a new Cabinet, when there is a Cabinet reshuffle or towards the end of the (Cabinet's) term."It looks like we are leaning towards that now," he added.
Another minister, when contacted, also concurred with the general belief that the polls were imminent but cautioned that it did not mean that the election would be called immediately.
"It could be in a week's time, two weeks or even months later. If I am not mistaken, the last one (general election) in 2004, we had a group photo two weeks before the general election," he said.
A political analyst predicted that the election would be called immediately after Chinese New Year -- as early as Feb 13, based on the fact that number 13 is the favourite number of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
"His car (registration number) is No. 13. The last general election, in 2004, was also called on Wednesday, 3-3 (3rd March). Watch out for anything to do with the number three," he said.
The Cabinet is scheduled to meet again on Feb 5 (Tuesday) instead of the normal Wednesday (Feb 6) which would be the eve of Chinese New Year.
When Abdullah called the general election in 2004, parliament was dissolved on March 4. Nomination was on March 13 while polling was on March 21.
"The question now is whether he would call it before the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Conference) meeting or after the OIC meeting," he said.
Abdullah is scheduled to attend the OIC Heads of Government Meeting in Senegal from March 8 to 12 as Malaysia is expected to hand over the OIC chairmanship.
"If the election is held during the school holidays (the school holidays are from March 9 to 16), let's say on March 9, he would not have time to form the Cabinet before attending the OIC meeting," he said.
"Therefore, if he wants to have the election before the OIC meeting, he would have to call it after Chinese New Year. Otherwise, he would have to wait until he comes back from the OIC meeting," he added.
Political insiders say that Abdullah, during an interview with CNN in Davos, Switzerland, last week, dropped a clearer hint that the election was likely to be held soon.
"We will call for the election when I think everything is all right and at the moment I think the people are ready for the election," Abdullah said in the interview which was conducted on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Many political observers expect Abdullah to call for the polls by mid-March even though his ruling coalition's five-year mandate only expires in the middle of next year.-- BERNAMA

Monday, 28 January 2008

WHERE

OFTEN people asked me where I stay when I am in my home State, Sabah.
I said Kampung (village) Kionsom.
Thanks to a very creative and full of initiative person or persons,
And my brother JB, I hereby provide a link where you could know where I feel most at home.
Again, my deepest appreciation to whoever have started doing the mapping!!!
Click here to see where my heart is. Its near Vitalis and Joseph Gulabok Bingkasan houses.

2 x 5

TWO friends rented a boat and fished in a lake every day. One day they caught 30 fish.
One guy said to his friend, "Mark this spot so that we can come back here again tomorrow."
The next day, when they were driving to rent the boat, the same guy asked his friend, "Did you mark that spot?"
His friend replied, "Yeah, I put a big 'X' on the bottom of the boat."
The first one said, "You stupid fool! What if we don't get that same boat today!?!?"

(Click for more JOKES)

Friday, 25 January 2008

WAS THERE

AS I mentioned in the posting QUEEN,
I was there when the royals visited my home State Sabah.
But as always is the case,
the photographers (in this case, myself)
did not have a chance to pose with the guests.
So, just to prove that I was there,
this picture (provided here in black and white - a personal touch)
hopefully will do just that.
See the signboard at the back?
And they were staying at the place shown by the signboard on the right.
I was there. I was there...

QUEEN

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Tan Sri Bernard Dompok, my boss was the Federal Minister in Attendance for the royal visit by the Agong (King) and his Permaisuri (Queen) to my home State Sabah from 21 to 22 January 2008.
So, I had the rare distinction of being able to see the royal couple up close though not personal.
I had seen the King before. But it was my first time seeing the Queen. And she was a Queen in the true sense of the word....
Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku. Daulat Tuanku.
Kounsikou for visiting my home State.

(click Permaisuri and Agong to read more about the royal family. And yes, that stunning picture of the Queen was taken by this Kionsom boy!!!)

Thursday, 17 January 2008

ITS ALL IN THE MIND

Higher wine prices boost drinking pleasure
By Clare Baldwin (Reuters)
Tue Jan 15, 10:39 AM ET
The more wine costs, the more people enjoy it, regardless of how it tastes, a study by California researchers has found.
Researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and the California Institute of Technology found that because people expect wines that cost more to be of higher quality, they trick themselves into believing the wines provide a more pleasurable experience than less expensive ones.
Their study, published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that expectations of quality trigger activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex, the part of the brain that registers pleasure. This happens even though the part of our brain that interprets taste is not affected.
While many studies have looked at how marketing affects behavior, this is the first to show that it has a direct effect on the brain.
The researchers said that when 20 adult test subjects sampled the same wine at different prices, they reported experiencing pleasure at significantly greater levels when told the wine cost more. At the same time, the part of the brain responsible for pleasure showed significant activity.
"We have known for a long time that people's perceptions are affected by marketing, but now we know that the brain itself is modulated by price," said Baba Shiv, an associate professor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and one of the authors of the study.
"Marketers are now going to think twice about reducing the price," Shiv said.
According to the study, if an experience is pleasurable, the brain will use it to help guide future choices. That conclusion has important implications for marketing that aims to influence perceptions of quality such as expert ratings, peer reviews, information about country of origin, store and brand names and repeated exposure to advertisements. (Reuters)

(See, see! The locally made rice wine tapai will taste better if the price is high. Its distilled version, talak or montoku, should also be faring better than the RM3.50 per 750ml at the moment. Friends, its all in the mind! Let's do something to commercialise our tapai and montoku... drink sangalas [a glass] bro!!!)

1000 WORDS - FAMILY

ALLYSHA, Allyshandhra, Nelly, Alexshandhro, Albert Bingkasan.
Allyshearha? Where?
In Nelly's tummy.
A reason to excel. Family. And beyond!
(A rare family photo, taken at the compound of Nabalu Lodge by a friend, Gabriel Sinit, in Kundasang, Sabah in June 2007)

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

WHAT WE DON"T KNOW...

JOKE (click to get more)
AN out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull!" Buddy didn't move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull!" Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Coco, pull!" Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull!" And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch. The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. "Well... Buddy is blind and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"

DETERMINATION

Mexican boy glues self to bed to avoid school
Mon Jan 7: MONTERREY, Mexico (AFP) - A 10-year-old Mexican boy glued his hand to his bed to avoid going back to school after the Christmas break, authorities said Monday.
"I thought if I was glued to the bed, they couldn't make me go to school," the boy, Diego, told AFP. "I didn't want to go, the holidays were so much fun."
"I remembered my mom had bought a very strong glue," he said of the industrial strength shoe glue he used to stick his hand to the bed's metal headboard, where he stayed stuck for two hours.
His mother Sandra Palacios was unable to free him and called paramedics and police to help. Diego watched cartoons while they worked to unglue him, eventually using a spray to dissolve the chemical adhesive.
"I don't know why this happened. He is a very good boy," said his mother.
Diego eventually made it school a few hours late.

THURSDAYS WITH...

BUDDY: We never know what is going to happen tomorrow. But where have you been?
MINNIE: I read somewhere once, that we should hope for the best but expect the worst. This 2008 looks promising though. I was here and there in the last month or so. And it was quite a holiday.
BUDDY: I too had a hell of a good time. The rains somewhat hampered the festive season but overall, it was memorable, to say the least.
MINNIE: The rain. Yes, that was quite a damper. I heard the seafood industry was hit rather badly. I went out with friends just after Christmas for dinner at a seafood restaurant and my, the fish were so expensive.
BUDDY:The Rumah Terbuka Malaysia (open house) in conjunction with Christmas at the Padang Merdeka in Kota Kinabalu on Dec 29 was also blessed with water from the sky...
MINNIE: I was sad when the authorities prohibited non-Muslims from using the word Allah.
BUDDY: I believe this controversy is doing the government more harm.
MINNIE: It is in deed not a very good thing for the authorities. But, while the issue became a hot topic in coffee shops, we didn't have two minds about it. We were praising Allah during church worships...
BUDDY: Yap, the issue is actually a non issue...
MINNIE: Hey, where is EEBOT?
BUDDY: He is not here. But he should be around, somewhere.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

SO WHAT

c
SOME of my friends had asked me about my opinion about the restriction for non-Muslims to use ALLAH.
Basically, I concur with my boss opinion. Bahasa Malaysia, the Malaysian language is a national language and thus we should use it in our life, in our daily routine, including in worship and what not.
I hope good sense will sooner rather than later, prevail.
This reminds me of something. You see, I composed several religious hymns in the 90s (when I was young).
And I have heard it being sung in churches (Catholics, of course), almost through out my home State Sabah.
I have heard my hymns being used in Tawau, Sandakan, Kudat, Nabawan, Keningau, Beaufort, Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Ranau.... (honestly, am bit flattered that this humble Kionsom boy's song is part and parcel of the Church worship)
BUT... the hymns are not sung as how I composed them. In fact, each church seemed to have modified them in thier own ways.
I could have pointed out to the choirs or the churches that they are singing my songs differently. But, what the heck. They might not sing them in accordance with my original tune but they are all singing the songs, the modified hymns, beautifully.
Allah. Tuhan. Whatever.
Religion is a relationship between a person and the Almighty. God. Tuhan. Allah. Whatever.
On second thought, may be I should apply for a "All rights reserved. Copyright" protection of all my hymns.
So what?
(I love nature. Thus the picture above. Its green. Full of sap...)

1000 WORDS - PURPLE

BLUE. Purple. Green.
Flowers.
What's in a colour?
What colour are you?

Friday, 4 January 2008

ALLAH - DOMPOK SAYS

Dompok: BM belongs to all Malaysians

PETALING JAYA (Dec 27, 2007): The authorities should allow the use of Bahasa Malaysia, including the word “Allah”, in all publications and not restrict it to Islamic materials, a federal minister said.
“My view is Bahasa Malaysia is the national language for all, irrespective of the racial groups or religious beliefs. It should be a matter of pride for all Malaysians, followers of all religions, to use the national language for their worship,” said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
The bumiputra Christians have been using “Allah” in reference to the Almighty for a long time, he told theSun.
For instance, he said, the younger generation of the Kadazan, who could not converse in their mother tongue, used “Allah” instead of “Kinoingan” in Kadazan in their prayers. “They pray to ‘Allah’, just like the Indonesian and Arab Christians.”
Dompok, who is in charge of keeping the Prime Minister’s Department abreast of issues faced by Christians, was asked to comment on recent cases involving the right to use the word “Allah”.
He said “Allah” was also part of the Bahasa Malaysia vocabulary, and the Internal Security Ministry's directive that the Catholic weekly, Herald, stop publishing its Bahasa Malaysia section, could jeopardise the government’s effort to promote the national language as the language of unity.
In a letter on Dec 10, the ministry informed Herald to stop its Bahasa Malaysia segment. Its annual permit expires on Dec 31, and it has yet to receive a renewed permit.

(I am just copy-pasting these postings from the free newspaper The Sun Daily. It seems only this paper is carrying in a more elaborate manner the Allah stories.)

ALLAH - EARLIER REPORT

Different faiths, same language
By Pauline Puah (The Sun Daily)
PETALING JAYA: Should the word "Allah" be used exclusively in the Islamic context?At least for Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka director-general Datuk Dr Firdaus Abdullah, the answer is "yes"."If you look at the word ‘Allah’, you find it has been used for years, exclusively referring to the Islamic notion (of God)," he told theSun.
Therefore, he said, the Internal Security Ministry’s ban on the use of "Allah" in publications about religions other than Islam should be looked at within the context of the historical and cultural-religious background of this country.
"I think they (the ministry) are making the decision within that context," he said.
Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Bernard Dompok had told theSun last week the authorities should allow the use of Bahasa Malaysia, including the word "Allah", in all publications and not restrict its use to the Islamic context.
He also said the ministry’s directive that the Catholic weekly, Herald, stop its Bahasa Malaysia section, was inconsistent with the government’s effort to promote the national language.
Firdaus declined to comment on Dompok’s statement.
The controversy over the use of the word "Allah" came under the spotlight when the ministry, in a letter on Dec 10, informed Herald to stop its Bahasa Malaysia segment, without giving a reason for the directive.
Commenting on this in a recent news report, Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Johari Baharum was quoted as saying that to prevent confusion, the word "Allah" could only be used in the context of Islam and not other religions.
"Only Muslims can use ‘Allah’. It’s a Muslim word. It’s from the Arabic (language)," he said in a malaysiakini report on Dec 21.
Despite the ministry’s initial directive, Herald has received its renewed publishing permit with no language restriction (see story below).
Even so, the restriction on the use of the word "Allah" has cropped up often enough for some religious institutions to seek a court declaration to resolve the issue.
In a statement last Thursday, the publisher of Herald, the archbishop of Kuala Lumpur, said the weekly had filed a suit against the government for prohibiting it from using the word "Allah" in the publication.
Sidang Injil Borneo, also known as the Evangelical Church of Borneo, has filed for a judicial review against the internal security minister’s decision to stop it from importing Christian books which contain the word "Allah".
It is also seeking a declaration that Christians have the constitutional right to use the word "Allah" in all their religious publications and practices, and not just within the church.
SIB was prevented from importing children’s books that contained the word "Allah" and was informed by the ministry that the use of the words "Allah", "Baitullah", "Solat" and "Kaabah" was exclusive to Islam, through the order published in the Gazette PU (A) 15/82 and the circular KKDN. S.59/3/6/A dated Dec 5, 1986.
The hearing of the application, scheduled for last Thursday, has been postponed to Jan 16 to allow the two parties to hold discussions to resolve the issue.
The head of the Quranic Language Division under the Centre for Languages and Pre-University Academic Development at International Islamic University, Dr Feham Mohd Ghalib, concurs with Firdaus.
He said the ministry’s decision in prohibiting the use of the word "Allah" was because of Malaysia’s cultural background and had nothing to do with the religion or language itself.
He said although "Allah" was an Arabic word, the meaning of the word used in Islam was different from that used in other religions.
"In Islam, Allah means He is the only God and no other God," he told theSun.
Citing the Arabic word "solat" (pray), he said although it had been used by the Arab people regardless of whether they were Muslims or Christians, non-Muslims in Malaysia did not use the word.
"They (Malaysian Christians) would not say I go to ‘solat’ in the church. They would say worship," he said.
The research director of Christian think-tank Kairos Research Centre, Dr Ng Kam Weng, begs to differ.
He told theSun the directive preventing non-Muslims from using the word "Allah" was an act of omission of historical facts.
"It is because of the linguistic affinity between the term ‘Allah’ and other Semitic terms, that Christian Arabs called the supreme God ‘Allah’ centuries before the appearance of Islam. Arab Christians continue to use ‘Allah’ today," he said.
He said that historically, Christians in Southeast Asia had used "Allah" to refer to the supreme God they worshipped.
"The earliest Christian writing in Malay, Kitab salat as-sawai (Christian prayers), was printed in Arabic (in) 1514. Christian catechisms in Malay were published around 1545," he said.
" ‘Allah’ was used in the printed version of the Gospel of Matthew in Malay (1629) and the complete Malay Bible (1731-1733)."
Therefore, he said, any attempt to prohibit Malaysians who use Bahasa Malaysia as their primary language of proficiency from using "Allah", could be seen as a disrespect of their cultural identity and cultural freedom.
He also argued that preventing Malaysians from practising their faith in their mother-tongue was a violation of their constitutional right under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom.
On the same note, political scientist and historian at the Centre for Modern Oriental Studies in Berlin, Germany, Prof Farish Ahmad-Noor said the word "Allah" predated the revelation to the Prophet Muhammad and went way back to the pre-Islamic era.
"Christians had been using the word long before there were any Muslims, in fact. Furthermore, the word is Arabic, and is thus common to all the peoples, cultures and societies where Arabic – in all its dialects – is spoken, and is understood by millions of Arabic speakers to mean God, and little else," he said in his article posted on the online resource site, The Other Malaysia.
"One could also add that as ‘Allah’ is an Arabic word, it has more to do with the development and evolution of Arabic language and culture, and less to do with Islam," he said.
"It is hard to understand how any religion can have a language to call its own, for languages emerge from a societal context and not a belief system."
He said Johari’s remark "not only demonstrated his shallow understanding of Muslim culture and the clear distinction between Arab culture and Muslim theology, but it also demonstrated his own lack of understanding of the history of the Malays".
He explained that like many non-Arabs, Malays only converted to Islam much later from the 13th century onwards.
"Among the earliest pieces of evidence to indicate Islam’s arrival to the Malay archipelago are the stone inscriptions found in Malay states like Pahang, where the idea of God is described in the Sanskrit words ‘Dewata Mulia Raya’," he said.
"As no Malay spoke or even understood Arabic then, it was natural for the earliest Malay-Muslims to continue using the Sanskrit-inspired language they spoke then. Surely this does not make them lesser Muslims."

ALLAH

cCabinet: 'Allah' for Muslims onlyMalaysia says Catholic paper can't use word 'Allah'
By Pauline Puah

PETALING JAYA (Jan 4, 2008): The Cabinet has ruled that restrictions on the use of the word “Allah” are still enforceable and thus Catholic weekly Herald cannot use the word although its printing licence has just been renewed.
In a statement yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Abdullah Md Zin said apart from the word "Allah”, the use of the words “Solat”, “Kaabah” and “Baitullah” was also prohibited in other religions' publications as per the decisions of the Cabinet on July 30, 2002, on the restriction which had been enforced since Dec 5, 1986.
The minister, whose portfolio covers religious affairs, said the restrictions were being upheld as “it has long been the practice of this country that the word ‘Allah’ refers to God according to the Muslim faith”.
“It is only proper for other religions to use the word ‘God’ and not ‘Allah’ when referring to their God in their respective beliefs.”
He said the use of the word “Allah” should not be subject of public debate such that it will give the impression there there is no religiious freedom in this country.
“The use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims may arouse sensitivity and create confusion amongst the Muslims in this country,” he said.
On Dec 17, Herald had received a letter from the Internal Security Ministry stating that the Bahasa Malaysia segment of the weekly was to be abolished, with effect from the renewed permit for 2008.
However, it had been given the green light to publish the weekly in a Dec 28 letter. Herald's editor Father Lawrence Andrew was quoted in news reports as saying that the letter placed no restrictions.
Other than the English segment, Herald also has sections in Bahasa Malaysia, Chinese and Tamil to cater to the multi-racial and multi-lingual make-up of more than 850,000 Malaysian Catholics.
Even before the permit issue came up, Herald had filed a suit on Dec 5 against the government for prohibiting it from using the word "Allah".
Sidang Injil Borneo (SIB) also known as the Evangelical Church of Borneo, has also filed for a judicial review against the internal security minister’s decision to stop it from importing Christian books which contain the word "Allah".
It is also seeking a declaration that Christians have the constitutional right to use the word "Allah" in all their religious publications and practices, and not just within the church.
SIB was prevented from importing children’s books that contained the word "Allah" and was informed by the ministry that the use of the words "Allah", "Baitullah", "Solat" and "Kaabah" was exclusive to Islam, through the order published in the Gazette PU (A) 15/82 and the circular KKDN. S.59/3/6/A dated Dec 5, 1986.

Malaysia says Catholic paper can't use word 'Allah'

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 4, 2008): Malaysia has ruled that a Catholic newspaper cannot use the word Allah, clarifying reports it had reversed an earlier ban on the use of the word by non-Muslims.
The move deepens fears the government is trying too hard to please the more extremist sections of its Muslim majority at the expense of other religions.
Father Lawrence Andrew, the editor of Kuala Lumpur-based Herald - the Catholic Weekly - was reported this week as saying the government had renewed its publishing permit, without restrictions, after earlier ruling that non-Muslims are forbidden from using the word Allah.
But Abdullah Md Zin, a minister for religious affairs, said in a statement yesterday the ban on the use of the word remained despite the renewal of the permit.
"It was just the priest's interpretation that there was no restriction on the use of the word," Abdullah told Reuters.
This is the latest in a series of disputes that is feeding fears of a gradual erosion of the rights of non-Muslims.
Politically dominant ethnic Malay Muslims form about 60% of the population of roughly 26 million, while the ethnic Indian and Chinese minorities include Hindus, Buddhists and Christians. - Reuters

A GOOD 2008

OH my!
I feel it was only yesterday when I last updated this blog.
Hey, it is now January 4, 2008!
Happy New Year one and all!
I am still in my home State Sabah.
Will be back in Putrajaya, West Malaysia on January 7.
Till then, hope you have had a wonderful and blessed Christmas.
And my gut feeling is that, this is going to be a very good year!
Let us all start reaping the harvest.
God bless us all.