Police question Catholic priest under sedition

Police are investigating the editor of the Catholic weekly Herald, Father Lawrence Andrew (pic) under the Sedition Act, for saying that the word Allah will continue to be used in Bahasa Malaysia services in churches in Selangor.

"I was questioned by the police regarding my statement in an article which was published in The Malaysian Insider. I gave them a full explanation of the issue," Lawrence told reporters at the Selangor police headquarters today.

His lawyer, Francis Pereira, said his client was being investigated under Section 4 of the Sedition Act 1948.

Andrew had previously said that all churches in Selangor would continue to use the word Allah in their Bahasa Malaysia services.

He said the Federal Constitution guaranteed the freedom of religion for all Malaysians.

"I explained to the police that we have been using the word Allah in the Bahasa Bible for a very long time," he said.

Andrew then pulled out a manuscript that dated back to 1905, which was written in old Malay and showed reporters the sections containing the word “Allah”.

He added that he also handed over extracts from the century-old book of prayers, which also contained quotations from the Bible, to the police.

His statement was recorded by investigating officer Assistant Superintendent Effandi Main.

Andrew has been on the receiving end of numerous criticism and much pressure from various quarters after his comment on the continued use of Allah in Bahasa Malaysia services was reported in The Malaysian Insider on December 27.

His comment was taken as a direct challenge to an edict by the Sultan of Selangor that non-Muslims in the state were prohibited from using the word Allah.

The raid on the offices of the Bible Society of Malaysia by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) has provoked outrage from various quarters, including opposition lawmakers.

However, the Selangor government today defended Jais saying they had followed standard operating procedures when carrying out the raid.

Selangor executive councillor for Islamic affairs Sallehin Mukhyi said Jais had conducted the raid based on complaints from the public.

"The purpose of the raid was to find evidence of wrong-doing," he said today. – January 7, 2014.


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